Eintracht Frankfurt fans made sure to provide an atmosphere befitting of a UEFA Europa League semifinal as the Bundesliga side welcomed West Ham United to Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday.
With a 2-1 lead carried over from the first leg, thousands of Frankfurt ultras in attendance welcomed their team on to the pitch with a huge roar and a monumental choreo display involving flags, banners and a blazing wall of pyrotechnics.
The home supporters had already unveiled a three-part banner with a message that concluded with the words “my city, my club,” and it wasn’t long before the entire Nordwestkurve was enveloped in a dense fog of white flare smoke and strobe lighting as the stadium continued to rock, quite literally.
The stirring performance had the desired effect as Rafael Borre’s goal sealed a 1-0 on the night and a 3-1 aggregate victory that saw them book a spot in the final against Rangers in Seville on May 18.
After much of last season’s European competition was played either behind closed doors or with reduced crowds due the the COVID-19 pandemic, epic prematch choreos and tifos have once again been a staple of UEFA competitions in 2021-22.
In the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League we have seen some great efforts from home fans eager to do as much as they can to spur their team on the success.
Here are some of the best efforts from this season:
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Marseille fans appeared to open a portal to the underworld as fiery red flares illuminated their stadium before the French side’s Europa Conference League semifinal second leg against Feyenoord.
Marseille vs. PAOK
This followed a similarly daunting pre-match display against PAOK in the quarterfinal, which saw an inferno in the terraces at the Orange Velodrome as a lone cheerleader led the crowd in chanting via a megaphone.
A vast banner of a wolf with crazed, smoking eyes was unfurled in the Wankdorf stadium ahead of the Swiss club’s Champions League group tie with Manchester United.
Brondby supporters let rip with a cacophony of fireworks in the stands ahead of their Champions League playoff tie against Salzburg. Amazingly, the players appeared to be entirely nonplussed as they lined up for the pre-match formalities.
Eerily peering from the shadows at the San Siro, Milan fans hoisted a huge image of Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker as they attempted to intimidate Liverpool in the Champions League group phase with an enormous banner reading “I’ll Always Be With You.”
Not many clubs can get away with such hubris, but Real fans’ avid declaration that their club are the true Kings of Europe before facing upstarts PSG in the round of 16 proved to be fairly prescient.
Real Madrid also adopted a regal theme for their giant tifo before facing Chelsea at the Bernabeu in the Champions League quarterfinals. The message reads “Don’t Play With the King” as the aforementioned monarch reveals a trio of aces from up his sleeve.
Shortly before Real Madrid put Manchester City to the sword in the semifinals, their fans unfurled a tifo predicting that they were about to witness “another magical night for the Kings of Europe.” How right they were.
Barcelona set a world record for attendance for a women’s match in March with 91,553 supporters attending the Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid at Camp Nou, where the teams lined up in front of a giant choreo that read “More than Empowerment” — a variation on Barca’s famous motto, “More than a Club.” Just a few weeks later, they broke that record again when 91,648 watched the first leg of Barca’s semifinal against Wolfsburg.
Lille vs. Chelsea
Lille ultras flew a large banner before the Champions League round-of-16 tie with Chelsea at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy to demonstrate their hometown pride. The flag depicted the French city’s iconic town hall building along with a caption that read “Proud to be from Lille.”
The atmosphere at the Metropolitano was cranked up a notch for Atletico Madrid’s Champions League round-of-16 bout against Manchester United with a large aviation-themed tifo that hailed “Flying Atleti.”
With Borussia Dortmund in town, Ajax supporters offered a timely salute to club legend Rinus Michels with an image of their former manager alongside part of one his most famous quotes: “Football is something like war. Whoever behaves too properly, is lost.”
As depicted on City’s club crest, a giant golden ship sailed through the crowd at the Etihad before Pep Guardiola’s side thrashed Club Brugge 4-1 in the Champions League group stage.