A friendly between Leeds United and Eintracht Frankfurt in Austria yesterday ended in a sprawling brawl on the pitch that resulted in 25 arrests. Riot police with dogs had to intervene, but it was still pretty wild. A robust middle-aged guy got kicked in the face, buckets were being thrown all over the place, and dudes in balaclavas went sprinting across the field to meet each other like a scene out of Braveheart.
Local police square the blame on Frankfurt fans—though Leeds fans are certainly no saints—noting that 17 of the 25 arrest came from the German club's supporters. Trouble was brewing before the game even started as bus carrying about 50 Frankfurt fans was stopped because the passengers refused to pay the fare. Those fans then had to walk to the stadium and wound up storming the gates, injuring two security guards.
Here's a statement from police:
At the end of the game, Leeds fans entered the pitch and went towards the Frankfurt supporters. There was immediate provocation and the Frankfurt fans attacked the Leeds fans. The police moved in straight away.
In the square in front of the stadium, Leeds fans running away from the ground were again attacked by Frankfurt fans. Eventually, the situation shifted to the centre of Eugendorf where police used pepper spray to stop attacks.
According to one Leeds fan, they were just going over to applaud the Frankfurt fans. "I was going to shake their hands," said Neil Slinn. "Then their ultras jumped over the boards and started attacking us. Some were wearing balaclavas and we were outnumbered."
And some more images from the scene:
In all, three Leeds fans were injured and required hospitalization, as did two police officers and the two security guards injured before the game. Frankfurt won, 2-1.