Some 100 hooligans of the German football club Eintracht Frankfurt were arrested on Thursday ahead of their UEFA Europa League match against Royal Antwerp FC later tonight.
While the police hope that the game and the rest of the evening will go peacefully, they admit that something like this can never be predicted.
"We are vigilant and prepared for all kinds of scenarios," spokesperson Willem Migon told VRT. "We will remain present en masse, throughout the match and long after."
In total, Antwerp's football stadium has reserved 800 seats for the German fans, but it is expected that many more will come, as Frankfurt's supporters are known for turning up en masse beforehand to European away games.
Earlier today, a group of several hundred Frankfurt supporters descended on an Antwerp supporters' bar. When the police intervened, they were pelted with objects. No one was injured, but the Antwerp supporters' bar was damaged, and the group of German hooligans dispersed again.
Europa League. 30.09.2021 Royal Antwerp - Eintracht Frankfurt. Frankfurt hooligans attack Royal Antwerp fan pub before the game. pic.twitter.com/G1hw6M0FDo— HooligansTV (@HooligansTV_eu) September 30, 2021
In the municipality of Deurne, the police arrested almost 100 Germans, who were put on two buses and taken to the station, where they will remain until after the game.
When the game has ended, they will be put on a bus heading back to Germany so they "can certainly not cause any additional damage in the city or around the stadium," Migom said.
On Antwerp's Grote Markt, a number of bars are closing their doors as a precaution. "Whether they win or lose, those guys will go crazy tonight anyway," they told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Last night, 400 Frankfurt supporters also took to the streets in the centre of Antwerp, but no major incidents were reported.
"They wandered around the city centre. Unfortunately, some fireworks were set off here and there, accompanied by some chants," he added. "For us, it was especially important to avoid real fights, because then the nuisance and the potential damage to the city would be much greater."