The Ukrainian national team and Borussia Mönchengladbach have set a footballing sign against the war in an emotional benefit game.
In the first game of Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the focus was on solidarity and concrete help. Most of the 20,223 spectators fired both teams in the 2-1 (1: 1) of Ukraine in the Borussia Park with applause and chants. Among the fans were numerous Ukrainians who were allowed to be there for free.
Before the game, the Gladbach professionals and Ukrainians appeared for a common picture with blue and yellow flags and a banner with the lettering “Stop War”. There was a standing ovation from the ranks. A huge jersey with the outline of the Ukrainian state area covered parts of the guest block. Fan separation was not necessary. The spectators sang for both teams. “Ukraine Olé” and “Mönchengladbach Olé” sounded in the stadium. When Mychajlo Mudryk gave the guests early, there was only cheering and no resentment. Oleksandr Pichalonok achieved the second Ukrainian goal. Conor Noß scored the goal for Gladbach.
The game should help Ukraine on two levels. The complete money gain benefits people who suffer from the war. But the encounter was also important in terms of Ukrainian. National players who played in their home country before the war lack the competition practice.
The selection is scheduled to make the semi-finals of the World Cup playoffs in Scotland on June 1st. If Ukraine wins the encounter, four days later she plays against Wales for participating in the World Cup in Qatar. “It is very important for our national team and for our country that we can do it too,” said former Bundesliga professional Andrej Woronin at the stadium microphone.
Before the kick-off, the former boxing world champion Vladimir Klitschko spoke to the audience in a video message. “We thank you all for your great help,” said the Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko. “Please think of us, please stay with us and continue to donate to us.”