Two weeks shy of the first match at Banc of California Stadium, LAFC broke news of its first international friendly. German giants Borussia Dortmund were coming to Los Angeles.
On May 22, LAFC will host the eight-time German champions and 1997 Champions League winners. The club of US National Team standout Christian Pulisic, the decision to bring BVB stateside seems pretty obvious.
But in reality, the partnership between BVB and LAFC goes beyond players.
It’s the result of a group of passionate supporters… and a wall.
Officially known as the Südtribüne at BVB’s Signal Iduna Park, but more commonly referred to as the “Yellow Wall,” the 131ft high stand in the stadium’s south end is the heart of Dortmund. The almost 25,000-capacity standing section is the largest in Europe.
To put the sheer size of the Yellow Wall into perspective, on a BVB matchday it houses more supporters than all but 10 MLS stadiums at full capacity.
"If you are the enemy, it crushes you but if you have her at your back as a goalkeeper, it's a fantastic feeling,” Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller told Bundesliga.com of the Yellow Wall.
It was with this unique experience in mind that the first Supporters of LAFC asked the Club to create MLS’s version of the Yellow Wall in the North End of Banc of California Stadium. Ownership listened, and the home of the 3252 was born.
“The Yellow Wall is intimidating,” 3252 Independent Supporters Union President Josef Zacher said. “It’s 20,000 people strong. Their supporter section, their core, is nonstop movement, nonstop singing. There is no limit with those guys. They just keep going. And to see the passion from the middle of that section going out to the entire stadium, is something that for us we really strive to do as well.”
At 34 degrees, the Supporter’s section of Banc of California stadium is the steepest in MLS. Like the Yellow Wall, it features safe standing and houses the Clubs most fervent supporters. It is the heart of LAFC.
And on matchdays, it is both a driving force for the home side and a terror to its opponents.
“When you have a section of seats that people literally aren’t allowed to sit down, I can only imagine it’s going to be pretty rowdy. Honestly, I feel bad for the opposing goalie because it’s never easy when they are that on top of you,” Miller said of the Supporter’s Section at Banc Of California Stadium. “You’re trying to communicate to defenders and they literally can’t hear a single word that you’re saying, even if they are 20 yards away.”
Prior to a match against BVB, Bayern Munich star Bastien Schweinsteiger once said, “It’s the Yellow Wall I’m most afraid of.” And it is that intensity that connects the two fan bases over 5,500 miles apart from one another.
“For us when we looked at it, it was their passion aspect. What are the tools they use to get that much passion out of their fans? For our supporters here, we wanted the same thing,” Zacher said of the Yellow Wall.
So as the likes of World Cup winners André Schürrle and Mario Goetze, along with Pulisic and England international Jadon Sancho, travel for the friendly between the two sides, BVB and LAFC supporters will unite over their common bond. A passion that ignites an entire city, beating from the hearts of their respective stadiums in the supporter’s ends.
But when BVB meets the 3252, will they take it easy on their friendly foes at Banc of California Stadium on May 22?
“There’s no let up. If we did let up, we aren’t giving them the respect they deserve. By us giving our all is really a sign of respect to them,” Zacher said of BVB’s visit.
“I expect it from them as well.”