"The beginning of the german ultra'-cult is dated somewhere in the
middle of the eighties, when the first supporter-groups were founded, for example "the eagles" of fortuna or "mad boyz" and so on.
But, the first real ultra'-like group with a structure like being known today were the supporters of 1. FC Nürnberg (http://www.ultras-nuernberg.de), which were formed in 1997 by combining the before existing groups of "psychopathen nürnberg", "veste sturm coburg" and "inferno neumarkt". the 2nd group with some kind of pioneer-status is the group ultras frankfurt (http://www.ultras-frankfurt.de), which was founded on july 7th 1997 as a result of the combination of different fanclubs like "bembelraver wiesbaden", "rhönadler" [rhön-eagle], "efc griesheim" [efc = eintracht fanclub], "brigade nassau" and "adlerinvasion bensheim". before that time there were some fan- and hooligangroups which followed the clubs to home- and away-matches. probably the first ones in that category were "anti-social front" from offenbach, "adlerfront" [eagle front] from frankfurt, "herthafrösche" [hertha frogs] from berlin and "alte kameraden" [old comrades] from braunschweig.
With the forming of the two before mentioned groups the beginning was
made and in 1997/98 a real founding-wave emerged all over the country. So for example "eastside bremen" (http://www.eastside-bremen.de) or "wilde horde köln" (http://www.wh96.de) were founded in 1997 and "harlekins berlin" (http://www.hb98.de) and "generation luzifer"
(http://www.generation-luzifer.de) beside others in 1998. in contrast
to most european countries like for example France the supporters in
Germany don't follow the ideals made up by italian fans. It was more the
intention of the germans to create a decent acoustic and optical support
(so-called intros) for their club and so the first big choreographies appeared and pyrotechniques could be seen especially within the guest-sectors. soon a better organisation and communication among the groups became necessary, so that in 1998 the first nationwide meeting of ultras was held (a list of the groups which appeared way back then can be found here: http://ultras-mannheim.de/2004/konf1.html)
The more and more public appearence of the groups was followed by a bigger interest of the police which was in charge inside the stadiums and not long afterwards the
stadium bans for fans were inaugurated. the 2nd field of conflict for
new way of youth culture could be found in their own sectors because
many other fangroups like "kutten" (traditional fans with tons of badges on their vests, wearing sandals, beer drinkers) or hooligans didn't accept that new style of support as equal to theirs. Also different to italy there was a clear and strong line between ultras and hooligans, but over the years those conflicts decreased inside the stadiums.
In 1999 the 2nd bunch of new groups like "boys bielefeld" (http://www.boys-bielefeld.de) or "ultras leverkusen"
(http://www.ultras-leverkusen.de) were founded.
By 2000 the ultra'-movement was present in nearly all stadiums, even
clubs from the lower divisions had small groups. In the first leagues now
nearly every club had an ultra'-orientated group of supporters, because that year "natural born ultras" (http://www.natural-born-ultras.de) from freiburg or "suptras rostock" (http://www.suptras-rostock.de) were formed, followed in 2001 by "ultras hannover" (http://www.ultras-hannover.de).
During that time another aspect of being ultra' came more to focus: the fight against commercialisation of football. the spark which was the reason for this movement was the public discussion about changing the kick-off-times of the matches so that they fit the needs of the television-station which was broadcasting the games that time. The so-called "salami-match-days" (like in the Netherlands) never were held that way because of a never before seen wave of protest. as a result of the banners which the groups made theirselves the club-overspanning association "baff" (union of active football fans, http://www.aktive-fans.de)
and the initiative "pro 15:30"(http://www.pro1530.de), with the aim to keep the main-kick-off-time on saturday at 15.30h, were founded.
Another important step for the german ultra'-movement is the year 2002.
prior to the cup-final in berlin a supporters-demo was held with to purpose
to protest against the exclusion of "real fans" from the games.
Afterwards this protest-march of many different groups joining forces was declared as a simple hooligan-meeting by the media. But after all it was a positive event because the groups, despite their rivalry, united for the aim of all the involved ones - unbelievable in other european countries. The same year also the 2nd ultra'-conference was held (a list of the groups which appeared way back then can be found here: http://ultras-mannheim.de/2004/konf2.html)
Actual the main problem for each and everybody is the world cup being
held in germany in 2006. Authorities (federation, police, clubs) try to
extinguish the active fans with more stadiums bans and even the
forbidding of whole groups like in case of "inferno cottbus".
In the season 2004/05 many groups and curves try to gather some attention on these aspect by doing special actions or messages. They try to abandon the newly applied rules from the dfl (german football league) and dfb (german football federation).
Also the fight against all-seater-stadiums has a core-importance within the
german ultra'-movement. The aim is not to have a "gravediggers-atmosphere" like in english stadiums nowadays, which surely would appear if stands will get forbidden at all. It has to be seen were the way of the ultras will go, especially considering the 2006-topic. Despite all the chicanes it should be obvious to every football-fan that this sport is living on emotions and without fans/ultras inside the stadiums there isn't a chance that this mass-phenomenom will survive for long."