Germany prepares for massive football party

Just hours before the German national team takes on Turkey in the Euro 2008 semifinal on Wednesday evening, football fans from the North Sea to the Alps were gearing up for massive public sporting spectacle.

Germany prepares for massive football party
Flags across Germany. Photo: DPA

Germans young and old are likely to hunker down in front of TV sets at home and massive public viewing screens across the country to watch the match in Basel, ed Germany can overcome Turkey’s commitment. “Of course, our team will win againsSwitzerland that is the last stop to the European Championships final.

They will be joined by the country’s sizable Turkish community – an estimated 2.6 million strong – who will be cheering on Turkey’s gutsy team that has impressed during the tournament with its unflagging determination to win.

The biggest football fest in Germany will be Berlin’s so-called fan mile, which is expected up to attract up to half a million people near the city’s landmark Brandenburg Gate. There fans can watch the semifinal on three huge screens placed along a kilometre-long party zone.

Berlin’s Mayor Klaus Wowereit said the city can’t lose because of its large Turkish population, but he and others called on fans to celebrate peacefully regardless of the outcome.

“I hope that there won’t be any provocations during the match and there won’t be any harm to the German-Turkish relationship,” said German coach Joachim Löw.

In Munich, 300 uniformed officers will keep the revelry in check, a third of them outside the Olympic stadium where 30,000 people will watch the game via satellite from Basel. Police said things were “relatively calm” in town but said they would keep a close eye on the hordes of fans.

“What we fear the most is if Germany loses and a few take out their frustration on the Turks,” he said.

In Germany’s business capital Frankfurt, 8,000 people are expected at Wedau Stadium to follow the match via satellite.

Authorities in Hamburg and Cologne, which both have large Turkish minorities, would not comment on the deployment Wednesday but a police spokesman in Hamburg predicted “a peaceful and happy” night whatever the outcome.

But Rosemarie Ballack, the grandmother German captain Michael, is convinced favoured Germany can overcome Turkey’s commitment. “Of course, our team will win against the Turks,” she told RTL radio on Wednesday, before confidently looking forward to Germany’s potential opponents in the final.

“I’d rather have the Spaniards than the Russian team,” she said. “The Spaniards play a very cultivated type of football. The Russians play very fast making them very unpredictable.”



Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.