Germany: 2. Bundesliga
FT
2 - 1
(0 - 1)
Hannover
Greuther Fürth
P. Neumann (61), N. Tresoldi (81)
A. Sieb (29)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Zorniger rages against continued protests: "Players are the heart of the game!"

After continuing protests delayed last night's 2. Bundesliga encounter between SpVgg Greuther Fürth and Hannover 96 for over a half-an-hour, the respective coaches in charge of both teams registered their discontent with the current state-of-affairs in German football.

Fürth trainer Alexander Zorniger - a man whose German last-name interestingly translates to "ire", "anger", or "wrath" - went on a diatribe against the fan groups conducting the protests. 

Zorniger went so far as to dispel the notion that fans are the "heart of football". According to the coach, that mantle belongs to the players. Zorniger declared this "heartbeat" carelessly disrupted.
As predicted, protests from a German footballing fan scene discontented with the potential involvement of a new investor in DFL licensing deal have once again escalated. A 2. Bundesliga match hosted by Hannover 96 - a club at the heart of the controversy - was delayed for over 30 minutes last night. Match official Patrick Ittrich sent the two teams contesting the fixture back into the locker room several times. The affair was nearly abandoned.

"[An abandonment] is always in the back of one's mind," referee Ittrich remarked in a post-match interview last night, "It's definitely not something that you want to happen. We have a great product [in German football] here and we want everyone to enjoy it. That's why I try to lead a match through to its conclusion. But we might come to the point that it no longer works."

SpVgg Greuther Fürth trainer Alexander Zorniger was much less sparing in his comments on the protests during his post-match presser. The gaffer of the losing side made it absolutely clear that neither he nor his players appreciated the interruptions. Hannover 96 trainer Stefan Leitl - who once also coached Fürth - agreed.

"The fans are playing their own game now," an angry Zorniger noted at his presser, "They are making the DFL, the referees, and the players jump through their own hoops and no one is stopping them."

"I find it despicable when people keep saying that fans are the heart of the game," Zorniger continued, "The fans are the soul of the game, but not its heart. The players are the heart of the game."

"That heartbeat has been interrupted now," Zorniger went on, "The rhythm is gone because one can't focus anymore. Non-professional athletes don't understand what their doing to the players."

"The players can't deal with all this 'up and down' stuff," the Fürth trainer concluded, "It's gotten to the point where we can't play a match under normal conditions. Why bother at all? Enough already!"

Zorniger's counterpart agreed.

"The game belongs to the players," Leitl said at his own presser, "People come to the stadium because of the players; to watch them play a game of football. We need to find a solution as quickly as possible."

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