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Tennis balls disrupt Bundesliga as Bayer Leverkusen moves 8 points clear at top

Sat, Feb 17, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Tennis balls disrupt Bundesliga as Bayer Leverkusen moves 8 points clear at top

BERLIN (AP) - Tennis balls rained on the Bundesliga on Saturday as Bayer Leverkusen consolidated top spot by beating Heidenheim 2-1.

Jeremie Frimpong and Amine Adli scored for Xabi Alonso's team to move eight points clear of Bayern Munich before the defending champion's match at Bochum on Sunday.

But none of Saturday's games escaped fans' wrath with the German soccer league for its controversial plan to sell a stake in the Bundesliga's media rights income to an outside investor.

Supporters threw tennis balls onto the field across four of the afternoon's five games, forcing interruptions and delays. The first half of Stuttgart's game at Darmstadt took 70 minutes to complete instead of the usual 45 plus stoppage time.

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In Heidenheim, both sets of fans used whistles to drown out the referee's whistle on the field, while displaying giant banners decrying the soccer league's planned new investor deal.

In the second division earlier, two remote-controlled vehicles carrying smoke bombs caused a brief delay to Hamburger SV's game at Rostock, which was delayed again later when tennis balls were thrown on the field.

The protests follow similar actions during Friday's match and continue the disruptions that also plagued last weekend's games.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

CIARAN FAHEY Fahey is a Berlin-based reporter for The Associated Press, covering sports in Germany and beyond. twitter instagram mailto "
Article Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
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