There was a lot to see in Bayern Munich's Bundesliga showdown with Hoffenheim on Saturday, especially with the league leaders scoring six times in a 6-0 victory. But it's what happened late in the game when the match was already decided that is causing quite a stir. The game was halted three times due to a derogatory banner in the away end protesting and insulting Hoffenheim's owner Dietmar Hopp. The referee took the players off the field with just 15 minutes left before bringing the players back on. Then the players protested themselves by just casually kicking the ball around to each other to run out the rest of the time left in the game.
Hopp is a billionaire software entrepreneur who has backed the club financially to help lift it out of the lower amateur leagues of Germany and into the Bundesliga with young talent. It hasn't settled well with fans who think this team was bought and not earned, it seems, and the protests have happened quite a bit. Just over a week ago, Dortmund fans were banned from away games at Hoffenheim for two years because of chances toward the owner.
Here's how it looked:
It's interesting that the players were able to get on the same page and show solidarity, showing that any type of harmful messages won't be tolerated. Now all eyes will be on the league to see if punishments come as a result, like what we saw with Dortmund.
Over the years numerous clubs in the country have been the target of such harassment due to their spending and rise to prominence, like RB Leipzig. The league currently has the 50+1 rule that gives the fans the majority of the club's voting rights to feel like a big part of the club and allow certain decisions to be made based on a majority vote. As Bundesliga.com points out, this means clubs won't be allowed to play in the top flight if an investor has more than a 49 percent stake. This prevents private investors from taking over clubs with the goal of aiming for profit over the desires of the supporters.