Hamburg police have shot a man they say was armed with an “axe-like object” and a “Molotov cocktail” just hours before the city staged its first game of Euro 2024.

The German city’s police force said officers were threatened by the individual and, after he refused to drop the incendiary device, he was shot in his leg.

The incident took place near the city’s fan park in the St Pauli district around two and a half hours before the Netherlands faced Poland at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion.

An object marked with a spray circle lies at the scene of the incident
An object marked with a spray circle lies at the scene of the incident (Steven Hutchings/AP)

A statement from Hamburg police read: “According to current findings, a man came out of a locality around 1230pm (CET) and threatened police forces with a pickaxe/axe-like object. He was asked by them to drop this item.

“He also threatened the police officers with a Molotov cocktail in his hand, which he did not drop despite being asked and continued to walk towards the officers.

“The police then used their service weapon and shot him in the leg. This prevented further attacks and no emergency services or other bystanders were injured.

“The police officers immediately provided first aid, which was continued a short time later by medical personnel. The man is currently receiving further care in a hospital.”

Pictures on social media had earlier shown thousands of Netherlands supporters in the city enjoying the build-up to the Group D opener.

The incident reportedly took place near to where a large crowd of Dutch supporters were gathered, however the police could not say whether the fans were being targeted.

“A football connection cannot currently be determined, nor are there currently any insights into other motivations,” Hamburg police added.