Chocolate coins cause Bundesliga game stoppage as fans protest investment deal

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Foil-wrapped chocolate coins flew onto the field in the Bundesliga on Friday as fans made their unhappiness with an investment deal clear by forcing the action to be briefly stopped in Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 2-2 draw with Werder Bremen.

Fan groups across Germany have pledged to protest the league’s plan to sell a stake of future broadcast revenues to an outside investor. The groups have agreed on a silent protest with no singing and chanting for the first 12 minutes of each game this weekend.

When the 12 minutes were up, Gladbach’s fans went a step further by hurling the chocolate coins in gold foil — a common holiday gift for children — onto the field. There was a five-minute stoppage while stadium staff, joined by referee Felix Zwayer, picked up the coins.

“We will not be part of your deal!” read one large banner displayed by Gladbach fans. Their team moves up one place to ninth, above Augsburg. Bremen is 12th.

Amid the subdued atmosphere caused by the silent protest, there were still cheers when Bremen took the lead through Rafael Borre in the seventh minute, scoring with a shot on the bounce from a pass over the top.

Rocco Reitz turned the game around for Gladbach with goals either side of halftime, curling in a shot after Bremen failed to clear the ball. He scored again when Robin Hack drew in both central defenders and passed to Reitz in the resulting gap.

Marvin Ducksch leveled for Bremen on a rebound after his teammate Justin Njinmah beat the goalkeeper to a deflected ball.

There were also protests in the second division. A game between Paderborn and Hansa Rostock was briefly stopped because Rostock fans followed the 12 minutes of silence with a display of flares.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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