Berlin – Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday banned an extreme right-wing supporter from their ground until 2020 after he used a Nazi greeting during a minute's silence before Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Hamburg.
The supporter was ejected from Hamburg's Imtech Arena by stewards after shouting “Sieg heil!” during the silence to honour Hamburg's former physiotherapist Hermann Rieger, who died last week.
Hamburg gave the supporter the maximum three-year ban from all stadiums in Germany, but Borussia went a step further by banning him from their Westfalenstadion until June 30 2020.
In a statement, last season's Champions League finalists thanked Hamburg for their “good co-operation” in dealing with the incident and said they would use “all available means” against racism and discrimination.
On Tuesday, Borussia are away to Russia's Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League's last 16, first leg tie and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said they want to become Germany's second top side behind European champions Bayern Munich.
“We want to be the second football lighthouse in Germany,” Watzke told daily newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung.
“The lighthouse doesn't have to be quite so big as the red and white one in the south (Bayern Munich), but the yellow-black (Borussia's colours) lighthouse must be stable and it must shine.”
With Bayern currently enjoying a 19-point lead over their Bundesliga rivals and third-placed Dortmund 20 points behind the Bavarian giants, Watzke said the huge gulf does not reflect well.
“The current state of the Bundesliga does not look good,” he admitted.
Last season Bayern poached Dortmund's star midfielder Mario Goetze, while Poland striker Robert Lewandowski will join Munich at the end of the season, something Watzke has no problem with.
“What Bayern have done is definitely not reprehensible,” said Watzke.
“It's just what every business in Germany tries to do to their rivals.
“But we can all see in the Bundesliga that the gap between them and the rest of us is simply extreme.” – Sapa-AFP