This season’s best fan shows after Eintracht Frankfurt’s pyrotechnics

Eintracht Frankfurt fans made sure to create an atmosphere worthy of a UEFA Europa League semi-final as the Bundesliga side hosted West Ham United at Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday.

With a 2-1 first leg lead, thousands of Frankfurters ultras in attendance welcomed their team to the field with a huge roar and monumental choreography involving flags, banners and a flaming wall of pyrotechnics.

Home fans had already unveiled a three-part banner with a message that ended with the words “my city, my club”, and it wasn’t long before the whole Nordwestkurve was shrouded in a dense fog of white smoke and strobe lighting as the stadium continued to rock, literally.

The emotional performance had the desired effect as Rafael Borre’s goal sealed a 1-0 on the night and a 3-1 aggregate win that saw them book a place in the final against Rangers in Seville on May 18 .

After much of last season’s European competition was played behind closed doors or with reduced crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the epic pre-match choreographies and tifos were once again a staple of UEFA competitions in 2021-22.

In the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, we have seen great efforts from home fans keen to do all they can to spur their team to success.

Here are some of this season’s best efforts:

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Marseille fans appeared to open a portal to the underworld as fiery red flares lit up their stadium ahead of the second leg of the Europa Conference League semi-final second leg against Feyenoord.

Marseille v PAOK

This followed an equally daunting pre-match display against PAOK in the quarter-finals, which saw hell break through on the Orange velodrome terraces as a lone cheerleader led the crowd in chanting via a megaphone.

A huge banner depicting a wild-eyed, smoldering wolf was unfurled in the Wankdorf stadium ahead of the Swiss club’s Champions League group game with Manchester United.

Brondby fans went wild with a cacophony of fireworks in the stands ahead of their Champions League knockout tie against Salzburg. Surprisingly, the players looked utterly bewildered as they lined up for pre-match formalities.

Eeriely watching from the shadows at the San Siro, Milan fans hoisted a huge image of Heath Ledger’s ‘Joker’ as they tried to bully Liverpool in the Champions League group stage with a huge banner saying “I will always be with you”.

Few clubs can get away with such pride, but Real fans’ eager declaration that their club are the true ‘king of Europe’ ahead of facing upstarts PSG in the round of 16 has turned out to be quite prescient.

Real Madrid also adopted a royal theme for their giant tifo ahead of facing Chelsea at the Bernabeu in the Champions League quarter-finals. The message reads “Don’t mess with the king” as the aforementioned monarch reveals a trio of aces up his sleeve.

Shortly before Real Madrid put Manchester City to the sword in the semi-finals, their fans unfurled a tifo predicting they were about to witness ‘another magical night for the kings of Europe “. How right they were.

Barcelona set a world attendance record for a women’s game in March with 91,553 fans attending the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, where the teams lined up in front of a giant choreography that read ‘More than Empowerment’ – a variation of Barca’s famous motto, ‘More than a club’. A few weeks later, they broke that record again when 91,648 people watched the first leg of Barca’s semi-final against Wolfsburg.

Lille v Chelsea

Lille ultras flew a large banner ahead of the Champions League Round of 16 tie with Chelsea at Stade Pierre-Mauroy to demonstrate hometown pride. The flag depicted the French city’s iconic town hall with a caption that read “Proud to be from Lille”.

The atmosphere at the Metropolitano was kicked up a notch for Atletico Madrid’s Champions League Round of 16 against Manchester United with a large aviation-themed tifo that hailed ‘Flying Atleti’.

With Borussia Dortmund in town, Ajax fans have paid a fitting tribute to club legend Rinus Michels with an image of their former manager alongside part of one of his most famous quotes: ” Football is like war. Whoever behaves too well is lost.”

As depicted on City’s club crest, a giant golden ship passed through the crowd at the Etihad before Pep Guardiola’s side beat Club Brugge 4-1 in the Champions League group stage.

About Pia Miller

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