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09th Jun 2018

Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan booed by Germany fans

"The fact a national player is booed like that helps nobody"

Simon Lloyd

Germany beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their final warm-up game for the World Cup on Friday

Timo Werner opened the scoring for the world champions in Leverkusen, with an own goal from Omar Hawsawi doubling their lead shortly before half-time. Despite seeming comfortable, Germany conceded a late goal to Taiseer Al-Jassam, and should have conceded a penalty when Mats Hummels pulled the shirt of Mohammad Al-Sahlawi’s shirt inside the six-yard box.

The introduction of Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan drew jeers from the German crowd, who continued to boo the midfielder’s every touch.

Along with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, Gundogan recently met with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, referring to him as “my president”. Although Ozil and Gundogan were born in the German city of Gelsenkirchen, both players are of Turkish descent.

At the time, their meeting with Erdogan drew criticism from the German FA.


“Football and the DFB defend values which are not sufficiently respected by Mr Erdogan,” DFB president Reinhard Grindel said.

“That’s why it’s not good that our international players let themselves be manipulated for his electoral campaign. In doing that, our players have certainly not helped the DFB’s work on integration.”

Politicians in Germany also condemned the meeting, questioning their loyalty to German democratic values.

Both players were booed by fans during their 2-1 defeat by Austria in Klagenfurt last week, although a slight knee injury for Ozil – not serious enough to jeopardise his World Cup hopes – left Gundogan to bear the brunt of the the fans’ anger against Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in the week, Gundogan had admitted that he’d struggled with the reaction to his meeting with Erdogan, explaining that he felt “privileged” to have grown up in Germany despite his strong connection to Turkey.

Germany coach Joachim Low called for the booing to stop in a post-match interview.

“The fact a national player is booed like that helps nobody,” he told ARD. “What should Ilkay do now?

“He took a picture, okay, but he has addressed it with the press and underlined his support for German values.

“The topic has to be ticked off.”