Bundesliga teams seek to reassure fans about security | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 19.11.2015
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Bundesliga teams seek to reassure fans about security

As the first day of Bundesliga matches since the Paris attacks approaches, the clubs have been seeking to reassure fans about security. Fans have also been asked to refrain from setting off flares during the games.

After German football league (DFL) President Rehnhard Rauball announced that the weekend's games would go ahead as planned, Bundesliga teams sought to reassure their fans on Thursday that every possible measure would be taken to ensure their security.

In Mönchengladbach, Borussia's club secretary, Stephan Schippers, took the unsual step of appearing at a pre-game press conference along with sports director Max Eberl, in order to address the concerns directly.

Schippers said the club would be opening the Borussia-Park a half hour earlier than usual for Saturday's game against Hannover, to allow for security checks that would be more thorough than usual. He also noted, however that security was always high for Gladbach's home games.

The league leaders, Bayern Munich, who are traveling to Schalke in the biggest game on matchday 13, issued a statement in both German and English to reassure their fans about extra security measures that were being put in place, but did not go into detail.

It also came as no surprise when coaches were asked to comment on security at their press conferences on Thursday. Schalke's Andre Breitenreiter told reporters in Gelsenkirchen that he and his team had complete faith in the club and the authorities to ensure their safety.

Thomas Tuchel of Borussia Dortmund conceded that it would feel a bit different when the players take to the field in Hamburg to kick off the weekend's play, but added that he too had tremendous faith in the security measures.

There has been pretty much unanimous support for the fact that the league has decided to press ahead with the schedule of nine games despite last Friday's deadly attack in Paris and the cancellation of Tuesday's national team game in Hanover due to a terror scare.

"There is no alternative. We must show the civil courage and must not allow ourselves to capitulate to fear," Dortmund's CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke said. "Or else it allows those (terrorists) to celebrate, who should not be doing so."

However, it is also clear that as the teams try to get back to normal, there will be a different feel inside the various stadiums. There is to be a minute of silence before the matches and the teams are to wear black armbands. Officials have also called on the fans to refrain from setting off flares in the stadiums. Hamburg's chairman, Dietmar Beiersdorfer, warned that doing so would sent the wrong signal and could set off a panic.

Meanwhile, Bundesliga officials are also thinking about what can be done in the long term to enhance security at the stadiums. The head of Schalke's supervisory board, Clemens Tönnies, told the mass-circulation "Bild" newspaper that he favored the introduction of full-body scanners, such as the ones used at airports. Former Leverkusen boss Wolfgang Holzhäuser also expressed support for the idea, saying there should be two at each entrance. Tönnies said that the fans needed to do their part in ensuring security, by being more vigilant when attending games.

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