German fans continue investor protests

Berlin, Feb. 18: Fan protests halted another game in the Bundesliga when supporters threw tennis balls and sent remote control cars careening around the penalty area during Werder Bremen’s 1-0 win over Cologne.

The match was halted for almost 10 minutes early in the second half. Fans have been protesting at games across the country against a proposed deal to sell a future stake in the league to a private equity investor.

Players kicked the tennis balls off the pitch as two bright orange cars sped up and down the penalty box doing flips and about-turns.

In previous protests, apples and chocolate coins have been thrown onto the pitch. Last week, a second-division game between Hamburg and Hannover was interrupted after fans attached bicycle padlocks to a goalpost. Officials cut the locks off with a power saw.

When Friday’s game restarted, Bremen returned to winning ways while Cologne’s relegation worries deepened.

Substitute Justin Njinmah scored with 20 minutes remaining. Cologne goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe missed Mitchell Weiser’s cross from the right and Nijnmah turned the ball into the empty net. Bremen climbed into the seventh spot.

The defeat was a blow to Cologne, which appeared to have steadied after a poor run left it in relegation trouble.

Since Timo Schulz took over on Jan. 4, Cologne had lost only once and picked up five of a possible nine points before 

Friday’s reverse.

The inability to score has cost it dearly, and defeat meant it remained third from bottom, six points from safety.

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