Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Football fans divide Berlin

Published:Sunday | June 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Supporters of FC Barcelona with giant portraits of players Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez ahead of Champions League final.
Fans of Juventus celebrate at Berlin Alexanderplatz before the Champions League final.

BERLIN, Germany:

A city divided.

Historically, that isn't exactly an oddity when talking about Berlin - the host city of yesterday's UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus.

However, this time, it's not the Berlin Wall or the 'Berliner Mauer' - as the locals call it, that has caused the wedge. Rather, it's the fight for football supremacy, on the field and off, as fans, committed and casual, flock to the German capital for a piece of the biggest event in international club football.

30,000 tickets allotted

Only 30,000 tickets each were allotted to each club ahead of their clash inside the historic 70,500-seat Olympistadion, but that did not prevent hundreds of thousands of fans descending on the German city from all over the globe, hoping to get a piece of the atmosphere and represent the colours of their clubs.

UEFA has certainly made sure that there is ample opportunity for fans to capture the vibe with the transformation of the area around the iconic Brandenburg Gate into a Champions League Village - as sponsors and suppliers of the competition capitalised on fever-pitch fandom.

Fans of Juventus, the many-time Italian champions, who, like their Spanish counterpart, were chasing the treble in last night's final after winning their respective domestic league and cup titles, blanketed the popular Alexanderplatz square in the club's famous black and white.

Flags, banners, every type of paraphernalia imaginable, littered the gathering of several thousands of supporters as they rallied ahead of the massive clash.

The imagery was the same at Breitscheidplatz, where the Barcelona meeting point had been set up. The 'Blaugrana' loyals worshipped their footballing dieties, Lionel Messi, Inesta, Xavi, Luis Suarez and Neymar as they partied into the evening in the build-up to the game.

Today, Berlin's football visitors will continue their journeys back to all corners of the globe, and like it did with the complete demolition of Berliner Mauer in 1992, the city will once again be one.