Tens of thousands of German football fans are in the British capital for the climax of the European soccer season. The clash between Dortmund and Bayern Munich is the first all-German Champions League final.
An ever-increasing number of supporters clad in the black and gold of Borussia Dortmund and the red and white of Bayern Munich gathered around London's Wembley Stadium in the hours leading up to the Champions League final.
With just hours to go before kick-off estimates of the number of German soccer fans in the British capital ranged from 150,000 to 180,000.
Police in Dortmund said they believed that well over 40,000 fans of the local club had made their way to London for the trip.
"Many of them travelled here in buses overnight," senior Dortmund police officer Lorenz Schadt, who was in London to support his counterparts with the Metropolitan Police told Germany's DPA news agency.
Officials with Borussia Dortmund said they had received more than 500,000 requests for the 24,000 tickets allotted to the club. Bayern, which limited applications to members of the club, received just under half as many. Officials said at least 100,000 of the German fans in London for the final didn't have a ticket to the game. Many of those were expected to watch the game in German pubs in the city. Earlier in the day, the colors of both teams were out in evidence as fans partied in the pubs and streets of London, including places like Piccadilly Circus or Trafalgar Square.
Throughout most of Saturday there were few signs of trouble despite the huge number of rival German fans in the city for the Champions League final. However, London police, who were on a heightened state of alert following the killing of a British soldier in the city earlier in the week, were forced to breakup a brawl between two sets of fans outside Wembley Stadium in the late afternoon, according to a Germany's SID news agency.
pfd/rc (AFP, dpa, SID)