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Police stop buses carrying Borussia Dortmund hooligans headed to Darmstadt

German authorities have stopped two coaches carrying football hooligans ahead of Borussia Dortmund's match away to Darmstadt 98. Police have said they also seized pyrotechnics, batons and drugs.

German police on Saturday stopped around 90 Borussia Dortmund hooligans heading to the team's match away to Darmstadt 98.

After stopping and boarding two fan coaches and one minibus near the town of Giessen, police said it "quickly became clear that the passengers had other intentions in traveling to Darmstadt besides watching the match." Some of the passengers were also already known to authorities for previous violent misdemeanors outside football stadiums.

Authorities also said they seized pyrotechnics, balaclavas, combat gear, drugs and painkillers on board the coach, before ordering the hooligans back to North Rhine-Westphalia.

Borussia Dortmund posted on Twitter that the club itself had passed on information to the police and was in contact with authorities over the incident.

Problem fans and 'ultras' damaging club image

Borussia Dortmund supporters have been under increased surveillance after violence erupted last Saturday ahead of BVB's home game against controversial new Bundesliga outfit RasenBallsport Leipzig. A group of hardcore Dortmund "ultras" threw stones, bottles and beer cans at groups of opposition fans, including children, women and families.

DW's Nick McKenna-Klein was at the stadium on Saturday and saw adults yelling and spitting on young Leipzig fans.

The extent to which the notorious new Dortmund hooligan group "0231 Riot" was involved in last week's incidents remains unclear, however, the logos on the masks confiscated by police in today's operation suggests that the group was present on the buses. The group's banner was not visible at the game, which Dortmund lost 2-1.

The "Riots" or "the fourth group," as they are known among members of Dortmund's three other mainstream ultra groups, draw their members from more violent elements among the club's support. Many are trained in martial arts and hold right-wing views - indeed, fans reported anti-Semitic songs being sung on the fan train to last season's cup final in Berlin.

Borussia Dortmund is aware of the group and has condemned last week's violence, pledging to enforce strict punishments accordingly. The German football federation, DFB, is also investigating the incidents and demanded on Friday that Dortmund's famous "Yellow Wall" - the 25,000 capacity south terrace which is home to Dortmund's most hardcore fans - be closed for one league game. 

The club has until Monday to accept or appeal the punishment. 

dm,jlw/mf (dpa, SID)

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