Last week all the UEFA European Cups’ group stages have been drawn, let’s analyze which fixtures will bring us new contents for the ultras world, here, on @ultrasbible!
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Group D, Shakhtar Donetsk – Sheriff Tiraspol
The fixture between Shakhtar and Sheriff, in a group where most of fooball fans will mainly focalize on the presence of Inter and Real Madrid, represents without a doubt the match with the most ultras premises and possibilities for some troubles in the whole groups stage of this season UEFA Champions League. Ukraine, and even more Moldova (or Transnistria, but we’ll get to this point in a second), are not famous for their big numbers of fanbases and ultras, but as we all know the whole eastern Europe becomes a cauldron as soon as there are possibilities for a fight. Transnistria cited above is an indipendent and autoproclaimed territory, and Tiraspol, city where Sheriff has its site, is its capital city. We can find the reason why this land is separated from the traditional idea of Moldova through society and politics, and since 1990 this region on the border with Ukraine asks for annexation to the Russian Federation. Even nowadays the Transnitrians people regret Soviet Union times, differently to most of the other countries born after 1991’s dissolution. On the other side, Ukraine being protagonist of recent frictions woth Russia, among the most famous the one involving the Crimea region, which still brings these days to a real war between the two countries. Specifically Shakhtar, club from Donetsk, a city which in 2014 suffered a bombing coming from the Russian army, also damaging the Donbass Arena, their new home stadium at that time, bringing the club to an exodus which see them playing in Kharkiv, Lviv, and eventually Kyev. This will be the first fixture between the two teams, but if UEFA tryied on one side to avoid matches between Russian and Ukranian clubs, they didn’t think about this eventuality which could bring inconveniences, alongside new contents coming from the two fanbases, ready for the war.
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
Group C, Legia Warsaw – Spartak Moscow
Legia, historically a club established by the Polish army, surely has one of the hottest and most violent fanbases in the whole Europe. Spartak is not far behind, vaunting friendships such as the one with Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade, as a testimony of their social and political side, easily intuitable, socialist. Despite Legia having a difficult fanbase to generalize and label, recent manifestations showed a nationalist identity, giving space also to neo-fascist symbols and logos in their fiercest stands of the stadium. A Russian club from the left wing, against a right winged Polish side. If this doesn’t ring a bell in your head, we suggest a quick history review. You’ll be soon as excited as we are for this mega ultras clash!
Group D, Fenerbahce – Olympiakos
Fenerbahce managed to be one of the very fee Turkish clubs still not labelled with an ideology, and it’s often saw as “the people’s club”, where in both the board and the stands, democracy tends to prevail. Olympiakos presents itself as the “working class’ club” in Athens, not a far concept from the one used by Fenernahce. If a clash with opposite ideologies clubs such as Galatasaray or Besiktas might have been more appealing for an ultras clash, it’s also true that we can’t underestimate whatever match between Turks and Greeks. A tasty chance for other fanbases from Athens and Istanbul to use this bridge to meet, but not for a coffee! Keep your eyes peeled on this one.
Group E madness, Lazio, Galatasaray, Lokomotiv Moscow, Olympique Marseille
For each of the ultras world, reading the clubs belonging to this Europa League group and thinking about every single match, means cast gold. Lazio, club from Rome, Lokomotiv from Moscow, Galatasaray from Istanbul and OM from Marseille. If ultras would be divided in pots depending on their level such as happens for all the UEFA cups, we’re pretty sure all of those fanbases would belong to pot one, at the very least pot 2. Each match will be a chance to shine for every fanbase, confronting themselves with very worthy opponents, even though we don’t remind of violent clashes directly between these fanbases. Friendship between Olympique Marseille and Napoli will motivate Lazio to be ready for the big occasion, against “some friends of the enemies”, while Galatasaray and Lokomotiv will represent Turkey and Russia, in an historical time which sees the two countries creating new social, economical and political balances between themselves. It’s also going to be Rome against Istanbul, Western Roman Empire against Eastern Roman Empire, alongside Marseille vs Moscow, two of the cities where ultras culture is saw as a religion since decades. So fasten your seatbelts and follow us on @ultrasbible to don’t miss out on this Europa League group E madness!
Group G, Ferencvaros – Celtic
Celtic fanbase has recently showed itself as one of the most left winged side of the social world we recently withness on the stands. You surely remember the fights against Lazio (once again cited on this article) at Celtic Park a couple of seasons ago. Ferencvaros on the other side, following the route of most Hungarian ultras groups, travels in the opposite way aiming to a very clear right winged ideologies, and sometimes ending up even in neo-fascism moments. The two clubs already met last season, where the Covid-19 pandemic prevented them from reaching each other in the hosting city, and ward off any clash. Faith has decided to put the two teams against once again, when, without further news, the two fanbases will have the chance to meet. We really can’t wait to hear what they’ve got to tell.
UEFA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
Group C, Roma – CSKA Sofia
For the third time in this article Lazio becomes the protagonist, slipping also in their city rivals affairs of AS Roma. You’d ask what’s the link between CSKA and Roma, which stands precisely in the friendship between the white and blue side of the Italian capital city with Levski Sofia, in turn rivals of CSKA Sofia, of course. Lazio and Levski are bonded by a sociopolitical relationship which puts both clubs on an extreme right wing idelolgy since decades, and this will be a great chance for them to meet again, causing troubles with each others rivals, in either Rome or Sofia, giving birth to colourful clashes and wars. A typical Mexican stall situation, with 4 very big guns in the ultras world ready to face each others, moving up also the stands of the Conference League.