By Heinz Büse and Marc Herwig, dpa
BERLIN -German police are worried about further violence at the Bundesliga derby between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund next month after a brutal attack on Schalke fans on Sunday.
At least four people were seriously injured in a mass brawl outside a Schalke clubhouse ahead of the Bundesliga game at Union Berlin. Police assume the attackers were part of the Rot-Weiss Essen and Dortmund fan scenes, with both clubs regional rivals to Schalke.
“We appeal to the clubs and both sets of fans not to let the situation escalate further in the coming weeks,” a police spokesman said on Monday.
However, he said it could not be ruled out that the attack on the Schalke fans “will result in a reaction” at the March 11 match.
The derby between Schalke and Dortmund, Germany’s biggest local rivalry, was already considered a high-risk game by authorities. Dortmund are level on points at the top of the Bundesliga while Schalke are bottom.
Several hundred Schalke fans had met at the clubhouse on Sunday to take buses to Berlin, but a group of at least 100 people showed up intent on violence.
A baseball bat and other tools were used in the brawl and a bus driver was among the injured, police said, adding that the attackers were already gone when they arrived.
Investigations for breach of the peace and grievous bodily harm have been launched, with video footage being reviewed. German third-division side Rot-Weiss Essen have condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms.”
“Violence and brutality – they are not compatible with the values for which Rot-Weiss Essen stand. We strongly reject the notion that the people who commit such acts can call themselves fans of RWE,” chief executive Marcus Uhlig said in a statement.
“We are in close exchange with the investigating authorities on this and will support them as best we can.”