10.10.2021Bayer 04

#RoadtoGlasgow: Yellow and Blue dominates outside the BayArena

The first match for Bayer 04 against a Turkish club on the European stage took place under special circumstances. Nevertheless, the Fenerbahce fans created a brilliant atmosphere in Leverkusen.

When the Fenerbahce coach Mustafa Denizli attended the pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions League game against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on the morning of 11 September 2001 at the Hyatt Hotel in Cologne, the team headquarters for the Turkish club, together with his players Derelioglu Oktay and Mustafa Dogan, nobody could have expected the next day’s match would not take place. On the other side of the Rhine, Bayer 04 coach Klaus Toppmöller shared his view of the state of play with the Werkself at a press conference at the BayArena. And Reiner Calmund went into detail on the "drama with tickets." There was massive demand from Fenerbahce fans in Germany and adjoining countries. Turkish journalists also asked for far more tickets than usual. Many newspapers requested 13 press tickets. "Everybody will get in but we will decide who sits in the press box and who is in the main stand," explained Calmund.

The first match against a Turkish club in Europe is an organisational challenge for Bayer 04. His club, as the general manager explained, not only gave the visitors the five per cent of the tickets allocated but also additional tickets for the Fenerbahce board and the Cologne fan club. But the excited discussion about tickets would soon be irrelevant.

A few hours after the Leverkusen press conference, the first plane flew into the North Tower at the World Trade Centre in New York. The terror attacks in America affected the Champions League fixtures. UEFA decided that the games on 11 September would take place but the matches planned for 12 September would be postponed.

big demand for tickets, full house

The rearranged game takes place four weeks later. BayArena is completely sold out on 10 October with a crowd of 22,500. Not all requests for tickets could be met – particularly for Fenerbahce supporters living in Germany. Therefore Bayer 04 worked with an events agency and agreed with the local authorities and UEFA to set up an event at the Rheinstadion in Düsseldorf. A 34 square metre screen was set up and everybody who was unable to get a ticket for the match at the BayArena was able to watch the game live with a Turkish commentary.

In Leverkusen, Fenerbahce fans were gathering in the pedestrian zone in Wiesdorf hours before kick-off and they also covered the grassed areas between Bismarckstraße and the BayArena with their yellow and blue flags, scarves and banners bearing the words ‘Fenerbahce Spor Kulübü’. Some Fenerbahce fan clubs came from the Netherlands in coaches from Amsterdam and s’Hertogenbosch. Some fans had already been here on 12 September because it was too late to cancel their travel arrangements. For example, Mehmet Soganci who travelled up by train from Wiesbaden for a second time. The 22-year-old, who was born in Germany, told the Leverkusen Anzeiger he was seeing his favourite club Fenerbahce live for the first time. Supporters from Wuppertal from the football club FC Fenerbahce Wuppertal sold fan merchandise near the South Stand.

In the hours before kick-off, it was the colours of the Yellow and Blues and not the Black and Reds dominated the area around the BayArena. There was a relaxed and colourful festival atmosphere. In the stadium, where 20,000 Werkself fans were creating an atmosphere, the Fenerbahce fans not only show themselves to be passionate supporters of their team but they also gave a warm welcome to their fellow countrymen Yildiray Bastürk and particularly to Bayer 04 goalkeeping coach Toni Schumacher. Schumacher played in goal for Fenerbahce from 1988 to 1991 and he won the Turkish league title with the club and still enjoyed an excellent reputation in Turkey. And Leverkusen midfielder Bastürk was rated particularly by the Fenerbahce fans as a Turkey international.

There was increased security for the game at the BayArena. The fences around the pitch were raised. And in spite of a hard-fought encounter, everything remained peaceful in the stands for the 90 minutes. The away fans celebrated early thanks to the goal from Haim Revivo on six minutes but then had to witness the Werkself inflict the third defeat in succession on their team in the Champions League. Nevertheless, they applauded their team.

And in Düsseldorf? Interest in the screening of the match at the Rheinstadion was limited. Only about 50 fans turned up to watch the game on the big screen. The next day the Rheinische Post reported: "The only thing missing from the Turkish festival were the guests."

The party only took place in Leverkusen. And the visitors made a very positive impression.


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