Krakow's Wisla and Lech Poznan are fierce rivals.
So it makes sense that the fans wanted to do something memorable when the Polish soccer teams faced off this weekend in Krakow.
They succeeded. Lech Poznan fans accidentally set fire to their stadium, almost “setting alight a giant banner reading: 'We will never burn out.'" according to the Associated Press.
The game was stopped for 10 minutes while firefighters battled the blaze, according to reports.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw. It wasn't the first time that Polish fans have dabbled in pyrotechnics. In 2013, the Polish team Legia Warsaw was penalized for "racist behavior" by the United European Football Association. In response, the team's fans created a flaming protest, complete with a sign reading “Ultra Extreme Fanatical Atmosphere.”
In 2014, a Polish soccer fan was momentarily set on fire when police tried to extinguish the flare he was holding with pepper spray. Photos from a 2016 soccer match capture a stadium basically in flames. Not to worry — the country's fans just like to celebrate their players with fires and pyrotechnics.
And fire is not the only wild behavior on display. The Bleacher Report named Wisla Krakow as one of football's most dangerous fan bases. “Wisla Krakow have a major following of raucous and riotous fans [who] have caused major problems from one end of the spectrum to the other,” the website wrote. Among other offenses: In 1999, soccer player Dino Baggio of Parma FC was allegedly struck in the head by a knife thrown by a Wisla fan. In 2003, supporters were part of a massive brawl in Wroclaw, Poland.
“In the semi-annual 'Holy War' rivalry game between Krakow and MKS Cracovia, there is almost a guarantee of casualties or deaths, as fans are always involved in deadly drawls,” Bleacher Report wrote. “The 2006 version saw eight people killed in a hooligan battle in the city.”
Erickson, Amanda. “Polish Soccer Fans Accidentally Lit Their Own Stadium on Fire.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 May 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/05/15/polish-soccer-fans-accidentally-lit-their-own-stadium-on-fire/?utm_term=.14b18ddce2cc.