Coutinho and substitute Leon Goretzka added second-half strikes but 13 minutes before the end, the game was halted after banners against Hoffenheim’s benefactor Hopp were unveiled by the visiting fans.
Leverkusen was founded in 1904 by employees of German pharmaceutical company Bayer, which was based in the city. Affiliated with the local autoworks, meanwhile, VfL Wolfsburg was founded in 1945, just seven years after the city itself was created to house Volkswagen workers busy assembling the famous Beetle or ‘people’s car’.
The reason why Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg are allowed to exist despite this rule is because they were founded as works clubs. In turn, they had investors who have had an interest in a club for more than 20 years and therefore meant they could apply for an exemption from the 50+1 rule.
In 2015, Hoffenheim joined Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg as the only clubs who don’t apply to the 50+1 rule because Hopp was allowed to take a majority voting share. Traditionally in Germany, the 50+1 rule means that clubs – and, by extension, the fans – hold a majority of their own voting rights. Under German Football League rules, football clubs will not be allowed to play in the Bundesliga if commercial investors have more than a 49 percent stake.
At the end of the match Hopp and Munich chief Rummenigge shook hands on the pitch as both sets of players applauded them.
They decided just to pass the ball between themselves with Hopp stood on the touchline applauding alongside Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Billionaire Hopp is a divisive character in German football, having bankrolled Hoffenheim up from the fifth tier to the Bundesliga between 2000 and 2008.
Both sets of players returned to the field of play after a short delay but refused to play the remaining 10 minutes.
The players went off the pitch and the Bayern players begged the fans to put the banners away, and although the game was restarted the players agreed not to score in solidarity with Hopp.
Bayern had dominated the first half and goals from Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich, youngster Joshua Zirkzee and Phillipe Coutinho put them into a 4-0 lead at half time.
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