Insight

On your feet

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted something new in European football this season: standing areas on the terraces. We speak to a fan who has experienced it first hand – or should that be first foot?

WORDS Dan Poole

Yes, the Yellow Wall is a visual experience. No doubt about it. It’s very yellow, for a start – a great big swirling mass of Borussia Dortmund supporters displaying an outward expression of love for their team through the medium of shirts and scarves and flags. Then there are those glorious tifos, which have honoured and glorified the side’s 1997 Champions League win on more than one occasion. 

But perhaps what’s most striking is that it’s a wall of sound. Orchestrators down the front, megaphones in hand, lead the fans in stirring renditions of Wir Sind Alle Dortmunder Jungs and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Fifty thousand hands clap in unison (that’s 25,000 people, if you were wondering about the maths). There’s an exultant roar when a goal goes in. It’s electric. 

The Yellow Wall, Matchday 1, Dortmund v Copenhagen (top);
Anastasia Gradl on the night (above)

The audio and visual spectacle played out in the Westfalenstadion’s South Stand is made possible by the fact that it’s the largest single terrace in Europe. However, up until now it hasn’t been possible for the rest of Europe to appreciate the full effect of the Yellow Wall’s awesome power on the Champions League stage, owing to a ban on standing that was introduced in 1988 following the Heysel Stadium disaster. As of this season, that could be set to change. 

UEFA’s Standing Facilities Observer Programme 2022/23 is, in layman’s terms, a trial that’s being carried out this season across the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. It’s running from group stage to semi-finals and involves games in Germany, England and France. UEFA has appointed independent observers to analyse the use of standing facilities; once reports have been submitted at the end of the season, a decision will be made on whether standing can be reintroduced to UEFA competitions – and this time to include more clubs – in a safe manner.

Yes, the Yellow Wall is a visual experience. No doubt about it. It’s very yellow, for a start – a great big swirling mass of Borussia Dortmund supporters displaying an outward expression of love for their team through the medium of shirts and scarves and flags. Then there are those glorious tifos, which have honoured and glorified the side’s 1997 Champions League win on more than one occasion. 

But perhaps what’s most striking is that it’s a wall of sound. Orchestrators down the front, megaphones in hand, lead the fans in stirring renditions of Wir Sind Alle Dortmunder Jungs and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Fifty thousand hands clap in unison (that’s 25,000 people, if you were wondering about the maths). There’s an exultant roar when a goal goes in. It’s electric. 

The Yellow Wall, Matchday 1, Dortmund v Copenhagen (top);
Anastasia Gradl on the night (above)

The audio and visual spectacle played out in the Westfalenstadion’s South Stand is made possible by the fact that it’s the largest single terrace in Europe. However, up until now it hasn’t been possible for the rest of Europe to appreciate the full effect of the Yellow Wall’s awesome power on the Champions League stage, owing to a ban on standing that was introduced in 1988 following the Heysel Stadium disaster. As of this season, that could be set to change. 

UEFA’s Standing Facilities Observer Programme 2022/23 is, in layman’s terms, a trial that’s being carried out this season across the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. It’s running from group stage to semi-finals and involves games in Germany, England and France. UEFA has appointed independent observers to analyse the use of standing facilities; once reports have been submitted at the end of the season, a decision will be made on whether standing can be reintroduced to UEFA competitions – and this time to include more clubs – in a safe manner.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

One person who’s keen on the idea is Anastasia Gradl, a Borussia Dortmund supporter who was a brick in the Yellow Wall for her team’s game against Copenhagen on Matchday 1. She has stood for domestic games before but being able to do so for a Champions League game was a brand new – and welcome – adventure. 

“I was right in the middle,” she says. “The Yellow Wall is legendary. People talk about it as this big phenomenon. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re standing close to each other, and so you end up talking to the people around you. You can engage more in the whole atmosphere when you’re standing.”

Gradl saw her team win 3-0 – just the right sort of result to be on your feet for. “Everybody was screaming and singing and hugging each other,” she says, before drawing attention to another, more fluid method of celebration. “No one escaped getting beer on their head. But I was expecting it, so it was OK.”

“Maybe it’s the fact that you’re standing close to each other, and so you end up talking to the people around you. You can engage more in the whole atmosphere”

Standing areas have been part of Germany’s top-flight grounds since the early 1990s. That hasn’t been the case in England, where a pilot scheme in the top two divisions last season was the first instance of it in 28 years, following a requirement for all-seater stadiums in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Standing sections are now allowed in the Premier League and Championship for 2022/23 – and, of course, in the Champions League. The English teams taking part in the UEFA trial are Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

If you’re one of those who do end up footloose and seat-free before the end of the season, Gradl’s experience suggests a few warm-up exercises beforehand might be in order. “The week before this game I was at a concert in Berlin; I had to stand the whole time and my back started to hurt,” she says. “Then, against Hoffenheim the weekend before, we were again in a standing area, and my back was killing me. This time I enjoyed being in the South Stand so much that I didn’t even notice any problems with my back. Well, until the next day…”

Yes, the Yellow Wall is a visual experience. No doubt about it. It’s very yellow, for a start – a great big swirling mass of Borussia Dortmund supporters displaying an outward expression of love for their team through the medium of shirts and scarves and flags. Then there are those glorious tifos, which have honoured and glorified the side’s 1997 Champions League win on more than one occasion. 

But perhaps what’s most striking is that it’s a wall of sound. Orchestrators down the front, megaphones in hand, lead the fans in stirring renditions of Wir Sind Alle Dortmunder Jungs and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Fifty thousand hands clap in unison (that’s 25,000 people, if you were wondering about the maths). There’s an exultant roar when a goal goes in. It’s electric. 

The Yellow Wall, Matchday 1, Dortmund v Copenhagen (top);
Anastasia Gradl on the night (above)

The audio and visual spectacle played out in the Westfalenstadion’s South Stand is made possible by the fact that it’s the largest single terrace in Europe. However, up until now it hasn’t been possible for the rest of Europe to appreciate the full effect of the Yellow Wall’s awesome power on the Champions League stage, owing to a ban on standing that was introduced in 1988 following the Heysel Stadium disaster. As of this season, that could be set to change. 

UEFA’s Standing Facilities Observer Programme 2022/23 is, in layman’s terms, a trial that’s being carried out this season across the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. It’s running from group stage to semi-finals and involves games in Germany, England and France. UEFA has appointed independent observers to analyse the use of standing facilities; once reports have been submitted at the end of the season, a decision will be made on whether standing can be reintroduced to UEFA competitions – and this time to include more clubs – in a safe manner.

On your feet
Insight

On your feet

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted something new in European football this season: standing areas on the terraces. We speak to a fan who has experienced it first hand – or should that be first foot?

WORDS Dan Poole

Yes, the Yellow Wall is a visual experience. No doubt about it. It’s very yellow, for a start – a great big swirling mass of Borussia Dortmund supporters displaying an outward expression of love for their team through the medium of shirts and scarves and flags. Then there are those glorious tifos, which have honoured and glorified the side’s 1997 Champions League win on more than one occasion. 

But perhaps what’s most striking is that it’s a wall of sound. Orchestrators down the front, megaphones in hand, lead the fans in stirring renditions of Wir Sind Alle Dortmunder Jungs and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Fifty thousand hands clap in unison (that’s 25,000 people, if you were wondering about the maths). There’s an exultant roar when a goal goes in. It’s electric. 

The Yellow Wall, Matchday 1, Dortmund v Copenhagen (top);
Anastasia Gradl on the night (above)

The audio and visual spectacle played out in the Westfalenstadion’s South Stand is made possible by the fact that it’s the largest single terrace in Europe. However, up until now it hasn’t been possible for the rest of Europe to appreciate the full effect of the Yellow Wall’s awesome power on the Champions League stage, owing to a ban on standing that was introduced in 1988 following the Heysel Stadium disaster. As of this season, that could be set to change. 

UEFA’s Standing Facilities Observer Programme 2022/23 is, in layman’s terms, a trial that’s being carried out this season across the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. It’s running from group stage to semi-finals and involves games in Germany, England and France. UEFA has appointed independent observers to analyse the use of standing facilities; once reports have been submitted at the end of the season, a decision will be made on whether standing can be reintroduced to UEFA competitions – and this time to include more clubs – in a safe manner.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Yes, the Yellow Wall is a visual experience. No doubt about it. It’s very yellow, for a start – a great big swirling mass of Borussia Dortmund supporters displaying an outward expression of love for their team through the medium of shirts and scarves and flags. Then there are those glorious tifos, which have honoured and glorified the side’s 1997 Champions League win on more than one occasion. 

But perhaps what’s most striking is that it’s a wall of sound. Orchestrators down the front, megaphones in hand, lead the fans in stirring renditions of Wir Sind Alle Dortmunder Jungs and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Fifty thousand hands clap in unison (that’s 25,000 people, if you were wondering about the maths). There’s an exultant roar when a goal goes in. It’s electric. 

The Yellow Wall, Matchday 1, Dortmund v Copenhagen (top);
Anastasia Gradl on the night (above)

The audio and visual spectacle played out in the Westfalenstadion’s South Stand is made possible by the fact that it’s the largest single terrace in Europe. However, up until now it hasn’t been possible for the rest of Europe to appreciate the full effect of the Yellow Wall’s awesome power on the Champions League stage, owing to a ban on standing that was introduced in 1988 following the Heysel Stadium disaster. As of this season, that could be set to change. 

UEFA’s Standing Facilities Observer Programme 2022/23 is, in layman’s terms, a trial that’s being carried out this season across the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. It’s running from group stage to semi-finals and involves games in Germany, England and France. UEFA has appointed independent observers to analyse the use of standing facilities; once reports have been submitted at the end of the season, a decision will be made on whether standing can be reintroduced to UEFA competitions – and this time to include more clubs – in a safe manner.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

One person who’s keen on the idea is Anastasia Gradl, a Borussia Dortmund supporter who was a brick in the Yellow Wall for her team’s game against Copenhagen on Matchday 1. She has stood for domestic games before but being able to do so for a Champions League game was a brand new – and welcome – adventure. 

“I was right in the middle,” she says. “The Yellow Wall is legendary. People talk about it as this big phenomenon. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re standing close to each other, and so you end up talking to the people around you. You can engage more in the whole atmosphere when you’re standing.”

Gradl saw her team win 3-0 – just the right sort of result to be on your feet for. “Everybody was screaming and singing and hugging each other,” she says, before drawing attention to another, more fluid method of celebration. “No one escaped getting beer on their head. But I was expecting it, so it was OK.”

“Maybe it’s the fact that you’re standing close to each other, and so you end up talking to the people around you. You can engage more in the whole atmosphere”

Standing areas have been part of Germany’s top-flight grounds since the early 1990s. That hasn’t been the case in England, where a pilot scheme in the top two divisions last season was the first instance of it in 28 years, following a requirement for all-seater stadiums in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Standing sections are now allowed in the Premier League and Championship for 2022/23 – and, of course, in the Champions League. The English teams taking part in the UEFA trial are Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

If you’re one of those who do end up footloose and seat-free before the end of the season, Gradl’s experience suggests a few warm-up exercises beforehand might be in order. “The week before this game I was at a concert in Berlin; I had to stand the whole time and my back started to hurt,” she says. “Then, against Hoffenheim the weekend before, we were again in a standing area, and my back was killing me. This time I enjoyed being in the South Stand so much that I didn’t even notice any problems with my back. Well, until the next day…”

Yes, the Yellow Wall is a visual experience. No doubt about it. It’s very yellow, for a start – a great big swirling mass of Borussia Dortmund supporters displaying an outward expression of love for their team through the medium of shirts and scarves and flags. Then there are those glorious tifos, which have honoured and glorified the side’s 1997 Champions League win on more than one occasion. 

But perhaps what’s most striking is that it’s a wall of sound. Orchestrators down the front, megaphones in hand, lead the fans in stirring renditions of Wir Sind Alle Dortmunder Jungs and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Fifty thousand hands clap in unison (that’s 25,000 people, if you were wondering about the maths). There’s an exultant roar when a goal goes in. It’s electric. 

The Yellow Wall, Matchday 1, Dortmund v Copenhagen (top);
Anastasia Gradl on the night (above)

The audio and visual spectacle played out in the Westfalenstadion’s South Stand is made possible by the fact that it’s the largest single terrace in Europe. However, up until now it hasn’t been possible for the rest of Europe to appreciate the full effect of the Yellow Wall’s awesome power on the Champions League stage, owing to a ban on standing that was introduced in 1988 following the Heysel Stadium disaster. As of this season, that could be set to change. 

UEFA’s Standing Facilities Observer Programme 2022/23 is, in layman’s terms, a trial that’s being carried out this season across the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. It’s running from group stage to semi-finals and involves games in Germany, England and France. UEFA has appointed independent observers to analyse the use of standing facilities; once reports have been submitted at the end of the season, a decision will be made on whether standing can be reintroduced to UEFA competitions – and this time to include more clubs – in a safe manner.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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