Tale of two cities: 'Sensational' for Bayern fans, sadness and tear gas in Paris

August 24, 2020 - 10:47
Fans celebrated Bayern Munich's Champions League final win in a socially-distanced open-air cinema in the Bavarian city on Sunday.


Living on their nerves: Supporters of Bayern Munich react at a restaurant in Munich. — AFP/VNA Photo

MUNICH — Fans celebrated Bayern Munich's Champions League final win in a socially-distanced open-air cinema in the Bavarian city on Sunday.

Almost 700km away in Paris, health protocols went out of the window as 5,000 fans gathered at the Parc des Princes to see their team lose the final in Lisbon 1-0.

In Munich, a large police presence was deployed to enforce, as much as possible, the restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, with fines for offenders during the match. 

Screenings of the game in fan zones were prohibited. 

So many fans fell back on the cafes of the city centre or at an open-air cinema near the former Olympic stadium in Munich, where Bayern played for several decades, before taking up residence at the Allianz Arena.

This site can normally accommodate up to 2,000 spectators for screenings. 

Due to the coronavirus, however, there were only around 500 watching the game on Sunday.

'Champions! Champions!" chanted fans after the club's sixth triumph in Europe's biggest tournament.

On the final whistle, the main Leopoldstrasse avenue was filled with cars in the colours of the city club, while supporters waved Bayern flags.

"Really great for the city of Munich, it's sensational," said Tobias Rau, 27.

"It's a performance that we have the right to celebrate despite the coronavirus and the fact that we have to respect the rules," he added. 

"It's more than deserved, it was really tight, but the Bayern players have really had an incredible season," said Lukas, 31. 

At the Parc des Princes, supporters lit flares and belted out their favourite chants.

Unlike Munich, social distancing inside and outside the ground was forgotten as fans who hoped to celebrate their team's first ever Champions League triumph were left without a party to go to.

"We are disappointed but we weren't dreadful," PSG fan Anne Vaneson said. 

"In the first half, we were on a level playing field but we paid for a dip in performance in the first 20 minutes of the second half."

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said that she hoped for "mature celebrations" should PSG triumph over Bayern, after supporters clashed with police following their 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in the semi-finals.

However there were scuffles between fans and police outside the ground throughout the game, with youngsters armed with fireworks targeted with tear gas by police.

Dustbins and in one case a vehicle were set on fire by youths angered by their team's defeat, while police vans were pelted with bottles.

Police said that they had to clear away 100 people who had gathered at the Porte de Saint-Cloud area of the French capital near the Parc des Princes. — AFP