On Tuesday, the Bundesligaai??i??s most ferocious rivalry takes center stage, and this time, itai??i??s more than personal. This weekai??i??s Revierderby will not only pit neighbor against neighbor, but second against third, separated by only one point. Tempers will flare, tackles abound, and all 22 players will give it their all. But such passion has its darker moments, and when blue lines up against yellow at Signal Iduna Park, it will hopefully be the football and not fan violence that takes headlines.

When Schalke and BVB clashed at the Veltins Arena in October, the match was delayed because a group of Dortmund Ultras stormed into the away sector, removed the protective security glass, and threw flares, rockets, and tracer ammunition at opposing fans and onto the pitch. The referee ordered both teams back into the tunnel, and one flare almost hit Dortmund captain Roman Weidenfeller when he tried to calm the situation down. These disgraceful scenes were only eclipsed by the 2012 edition of the derby, when over 200 fans were arrested after vicious fighting between both sets of fans and the police trying to separate them.

The link between hooliganism and football is well known across the sport, but Dortmund is a particular stronghold for right-wing extremists. The city famous for the Yellow Wall also reports the largest number of crimes committed by right-wing extremists in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germanyai??i??s most populous state and also the one with the highest number of reported far-right crimes. Residential communities near the cityai??i??s university are home to entire skinhead neighborhoods, and in the 1980s, a group called the Borussenfront was one of the most notorious extremist fan groups in Germany, though it has since disappeared. In 2000, however, a neo-Nazi killed three police officers and himself in Dortmund, and just last month, a fan shouted ai???Sieg Heil!ai??? during a minute of silence before BVBai??i??s match with Hamburg. (He was banned from the stadium until 2020.)

Neo-nazis have found the Signal Iduna Park an ideal recruiting ground, making inroads with three ultra groups, the Desperados, the Jubos, and the Unity. The former leader of the Autonomous Nationalists, the neo-Nazi element within Dortmund fans, told Spiegel that the ultra ai???culture [is] compatible with the neo-Nazis,ai??? and that a connection was easy to form.

Borussia Dortmund has long been criticized for standing by and allowing extremists to organize, but in recent years the club has awoken to the problem and taken action. In 2012, club director Hans-Joachim Watzke vowed to ai???cut the ground from under their feet,ai??? and the club invested 250,000 euros in high-resolution surveillance cameras that can capture close-up photos of fans from up to 60 meters away. This is concurrent with a citywide effort to crack down on neo-Nazism; for instance, the city funds the Dortmund Fan Project (with the help of the state and the German Football League), an organization of four social workers whose goal is to support young fans at risk of falling prey to extremist groups. The club also organizes trips to concentration camps in order to educate young fans about Nazism and Germanyai??i??s dark past.

This week, Dortmund and Schalke have agreed on measures to help curb potential violence. BVB have reduced stadium capacity, banned known ai???troublemakersai??? from the stadium, and police have devised a security plan under which the two sets of fans are separated and enter the stadium through different paths. Though it denied Dortmund permission to move the kickoff time earlier so that entry into the stadium could be carried out in daylight, the German Football Association has issued Dortmund an ultimatumai??i??if any ai???severe misconductai??? occurs in the next seven months, the famous Yellow Wall, Europeai??i??s largest standing section, will be shut down for one match. BVB must also direct another 30,000 euros towards violence prevention, on top of the 30,000 euro fine they must pay. Around 3,000 policemen are expected to be at the game, one of Germanyai??i??s largest police operations for a football match.

Whether these efforts will be enough to keep the Revierderby a peaceful affair remains to be seen, but it reveals the darker face of fan culture, one which the club should continue to take seriously and actively combat. Borussia Dortmund is famous for its 80,000 strong, its stirring songs, and its dazzling choreographyai??i??an example of the best German fan culture has to offer. It is time to ensure it does not also feature the worst.

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