BERLIN, Germany, Sep 3 – Germany coach Joachim Loew on Sunday dubbed as “shameful” Nazi-era chanting by a hardcore group of “so-called fans” during a World Cup qualifier.
The chants of “Sieg Heil” (Hail Victory) came from a 200-strong group of travelling fans in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in Prague. They also whistled during the minute’s silence before kick-off for two deceased Czech officials.
The chants were particularly embarrassing from a German perspective as they came on the anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, which started World War II in 1939.
“I can’t turn directly to sporting questions without commenting on what happened in Prague,” Loew said at the start of a press conference ahead of Monday’s qualifier against Norway in Stuttgart, victory in which could secure Germany’s place in Russia next year.
“I’m full of anger and I’m very much shaken to see that some so-called fans use football, and an international match, for their deplorable demonstrations. They bring shame on our country,” Loew said, hailing his players’ decision to not applaud the block where away fans were gathered at the end of the match, as is customary.
“I am favourable to very severe sanctions against these troublemakers. We don’t want them, we’re not their national team, and they’re not our fans.
“Given our history, it’s very important for us to represent our country in a dignified fashion and its values of tolerance, respect and openness to the world. These troublemakers demean this image.”
Loew also called on fans in Stuttgart to lay off Timo Werner, who was verbally abused by German fans during the victory in Prague despite scoring the opening goal after four minutes.
The 21-year-old RB Leipzig forward is unpopular after diving to win a penalty during a controversial Bundesliga match last season at Schalke.
“This behaviour by some fans is unworthy,” Loew said.
“These insults against Timo are extremely painful. He made a mistake and recognised that. I now call for the public to treat him like a full-time player of the national team.”