Hamburg's Toni Leistner entered the stands to pick a fight with Dynamo Dresden supporters after his side's 4-1 German Cup loss on Monday.
More than 10,000 fans were in attendance and the Dresden-born, former Dynamo player was not happy with some of them, storming up the stairs and trying to throw a Dresden supporter to the ground after the final whistle. Stewards and other fans intervened, and after some 20 seconds, Leistner returned to the pitch.
"After the match in my hometown, I was verbally abused from the stands. I can usually cope with it. But this was extremely and massively below the belt, against my family, my wife and my daughter," Leistner wrote on Instangram after the match.
"That's when I lost it, even more so because it was already an extremely emotional match for me. Regardless, this should have never happened to me. I am a father who wants to serve as a role-model. I apologise in all forms and can only promise that -- no matter what insults are thrown my way -- this will never happen again."
Dresden strongly condemned the insults and vowed to take action against the fan responsible.
"Disgraceful post-match insults against Toni Leistner from a fan of his hometown club," the team said in a statement. "We are looking for that person because we will not let this incident stand like that. We'd like to thank 99.9 percent of those attending the match today for their support."
In his postmatch news conference, Hamburg coach Daniel Thioune said he didn't see the incident.
"I did not see it. I only saw that Toni Leistner returned from the stands," Thioune said. "Something must have happened before. But I can't say anything about it right now. I have not seen any pictures and don't know what led to it."
Leistner played for Dynamo from 2010 to 2014. Dresden press officer Henry Buschmann said his actions wouldn't harm his reputation at the club.
"What I can add is that Toni Leistner has his heart in the right place and is always welcome in Dresden. Emotions are part of football," he said.
Fans had been allowed in the stadium for the cup match after local authorities approved a proposal made by Dresden which included mandatory masks and social distancing on the stands. The 10,053 in attendance marked a record crowd for the current round of cup matches in Germany.
While all players need to test negative for the coronavirus before being allowed to enter the pitch, the spectators in the stands do not need a negative test result to enter the ground. They are, however, advised to not attend the match should they show any symptoms.