For the first time in the history of the Copa Libertadores – the South American Champions League – Boca Juniors and River Plate, arch-rivals from Buenos Aires, face each other in the final.
Fears are riots of rival fans. Politicians, security experts and cardiologists have been discussing the game for days in sports sections of the newspapers.
Since 2008, 98 people have been violently killed in Argentina on the sidelines of football matches. Although since 2013 no fans are allowed to travel to away games of their team.
At his first game in the "Bombonera", the stadium of Boca Juniors, the former Argentine World Champion Jorge Valdano still has plastic memories. Although the game is a long time ago, more than 40 years already.
Valdano was pulling up his noses in the cabin when he felt a shiver. Beside him sat a veteran of his crew, and he must have recognized in Valdano's eyes a hint of distraction. Or even scared.
"That's not you, boy," he said to Valdano. "It's the stadium that shakes."
Whereby the followers of Boca Juniors do just that. The "Bombonera" does not quake, they say. Although everyone who has witnessed the ups and downs of fans in the stands knows that it is shaking. Although a seismograph was installed a few years ago, it detected earthquakes at Boca gates that ranged from 5.9 to 6.4.
"The Bombonera does not shake," their inhabitants say nonetheless. "She knocks."
Like a heart.
From the football festival to the deadly drug war
Four years ago Brazil celebrated a huge football party, two years ago the Olympians met in Rio. And today? The violence escalates in the megacity. About the legacy of sporting mega-events.
The Bombonera, located in a quarter of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, called "La Boca", is the stage of the first chapter of a battle that seems to have been forever and ever, but is now experiencing a new, unprecedented dimension , For the first time in the history of the Copa Libertadores – the South American Champions League – Boca Juniors and River Plate, arch-rivals from Buenos Aires, face each other in the final. Superclásico, as they call the meeting of the two clubs in Argentina, formally this time is about the ten-pound trophy of silver and cedar, the most important trophy of continental football.
But there is no hyperbole that has not appealed to in the past few days, no superlative that would not have been tried on the Rio de la Plata. In the sports sections of the newspapers were no longer primarily the football experts to speak. But politicians, security experts or cardiologists, who in the light of the coming battle of the century, called for a preference for routine examinations. And of course the psychologists who drove the sales of sedatives such as Lexotabil and Trapax in the air. Because the country is in a state of acute oppression.
President Mauricio Macri, who came to fame as President of Boca Juniors from 1995 to 2007, who put him in the highest state office at the end of 2015, said before the semi-finals (where River beat Grêmio Porto Alegre and Boca v Palmeiras) that he did not wish that it comes to a Superclásico. "The loser will need 20 years to recover from the defeat," he said. And he warned that the country was "not prepared" for the swelling Bocksgesang. What can one feel, except discomfort, asks Diego Latorre, who has experienced some superclásicos as a Boca player and is now a respected TV commentator. The fundamentalism in the fan rivalries in Argentina is unparalleled worldwide, with exaggerated exaggerations as folklore, with insane anecdotes like Thursday's, when the police marched on the Bombonera because fans without tickets were threatening to occupy the stadium. Two days before kick-off.
"Our football has been submerged in a masked civil war for years, now we are colliding with reality," says Latorre, as if he, too, speaks of an approaching war.
Over the top? Not quite. Since 2008, 98 people have been violently killed in Argentina on the sidelines of football matches. Although since 2013 no fans are allowed to travel to away matches of their team – it is forbidden by law. The fact that it comes to bloody battles, however, has to do with drugs, weapons and violence, also on the part of the police. Macri, who liked to look away as Boca president when his own fans raged like terrorist bands, suggested these days lift the ban. Probably also to give the world the image of a country without major problems. Because: Immediately after the return of the Libertadores finals, Argentina receives foreign leaders such as Trump, Putin or Merkel for the G-20 summit. And since it should not be possible to make a civilized image in football?