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Disturbing reports of Borussia Dortmund’s trouble with racism and Germany’s neo-Nazi elements

Feb 26, 2013, 4:05 PM EDT

Borussia Dortmund yellow wall Getty Images

This is a terribly disturbing report of shameful stuff, and not just for the obvious reasons.

An extensive AP report today details why German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund is having such a difficult time dealing with neo-Nazi elements of its supporter base.

While most of Germany long ago confronted its dark history in meaningful, progressive ways, this city in the heart of Germany’s industrial Ruhr (and a place with steadfast devotion to its soccer and its Bundesliga side) have had a tougher time moving on. From today’s AP piece:

Dortmund, in the heartland of the industrial Ruhr area, is a magnet for immigrants from all over the world. It also serves as a focal point for neo-Nazis in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In no other German state are more right-wing offenses recorded.

So, yes, it’s terrible on its face.

But it’s also so horribly unfortunate because there are so many great things going on with the club, the two-time defending Bundesliga champs.

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is so highly thought of these days, blessed with so much remarkable talent (and displayed in a high-paced, dynamic way that makes Dortmund so thrilling to watch.)

Dortmund remains alive in the Champions League chase, and few of the UEFA survivors would relish being drawn against Klopp’s talented assembly.

I have been fortunate to see games at the Westfalenstadion, and even for someone blessed to see matches in as many places as I have, it was truly an amazing experience. This place, in so many ways, defines passionate soccer support.

So it’s a real pitty to see anything siphon off attention from the array of positive elements around Dortmund – especially something this sorry.

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