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An evening for the supporters

Thomas KleinApril 28, 2016

While Atletico Madrid displayed a fighting spirit on the pitch, their fans showed what passionate support is all about. On this night, at least, both Bayern Munich and their fans paled by comparison.

UEFA Champions League Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern München Fans
Image: Reuters/S. Perez

Long after the final whistle, Atletico Madrid supporters remained on their feet in the Vicente Calderon Stadium, celebrating their team's victory. They sang, waved their scarves and cheered. It was one of those evenings that showed that supporters can literally cheer their team on to victory.

Atletico, who are based in the south of the Spanish capital, sent Bayern and their fans packing without as much as a goal to cheer for. Coach Diego Simeone's team earned a 1-0 victory, and are in the driver's seat in the battle to advance to the Champions League final.

Several hours earlier, the day had started much more pleasantly for the traveling Bayern supporters. By noon, some of them had already gathered at the Plaza Mayor (main square) in the heart of Madrid, warming up by singing some Bayern fan songs.

"Today's game is about setting things up for the return leg at home," said Bayern fan Thomas, who had traveled to Madrid from Munich for the match. "If we score an early goal, we'll probably have a pretty good chance." Christian, who was seated beside him, nodded in agreement as he raised a glass to his friend.

"Right now we are having a few beers and talking about the game. In the afternoon we will take part in the fan march to the stadium," Thomas said.

Fan songs at the Plaza Mayor

Just a few tables over another set of fans ordered another round of cold drinks while voting on which fan song to belt out next. An estimated 3,000 Bayern fans made the trip to Madrid, perhaps in part because their team had never played at the Vicente Calderon.

"The stadium is really cool, the atmosphere is famous and notorious. It will be great, I'm really looking forward to the game," said Thomas.

A few meters away, at Plaza del Sol, Stefan and his co-worker Michael were strolling along, freshly filled Bocadillos in hand.

UEFA Champions League Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern München Fans
The Bayern fans were in high spirits on the Plaza MayorImage: DW/T. Klein

"The stadium is very old and they are going to build a new one in a few years' time, so we are happy to be here again now," Stefan said. But the Nuremberg resident also warned that Bayern could have a difficult time of things, a few hours later.

"Huge respect for Atletico. They are really aggressive, not the kind of style that suits Bayern. That's a fact," he said. "So I hope we will escape with just a black eye."

A feel for when the moment is right

Accompanied by a large police contingent, many of the Bayern set off for the stadium on foot at around 6 p.m. Chanting and singing loudly, the fans marched through Madrid's streets, watched by sometimes bemused-looking locals. It wasn't until shortly before the opening kick off that the last of them had taken his seat in the venue.

Visibly impressed by the atmosphere created by the Atletico fans on the opposite side of the stadium to where they were located, the Bayern supporters began chanting.

"This is great fun here," said a joyous Karsten. This was his first visit to Madrid and it was a memorable one as the early goal by Saul Niguez transformed the stadium into a deafening football temple. It wasn't's long before it became clear to every Bayern fan present that their team were up against more than just the 11 players on the pitch.

Again and again the traveling supporters tried to inspired their team with loud cheers but theses attempts were mostly drowned out by the Atletico fans. The supporters cheered on their team passionately, while demonstrating an impeccable sense of timing, knowning when the right moment to try to give their team a lift.

UEFA Champions League Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern München
The choreography displayed by the Athletico fans before the opening kick off a sight to beholdImage: DW/T. Klein

"What went on in the stadium was impressive," Bayern fan Thomas conceded after the game. "The return leg will be different, we will show what we are capable of," he promised.

In the end, Bayern were beaten by a well-organized Madrid side cheered on by their passionate supporters. However, Bayern's hopes of reaching the Champions League final remain high. After all, the vast majority of these Atletico supporter won't be in the stadium in the return leg in Munich.