• Germany's news in English

Germany reaches fever pitch for Euro final

AFP · 29 Jun 2008, 18:55

Published: 29 Jun 2008 18:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In Berlin crowds of fans with their faces painted in black, red and gold were heading in high spirits to the central "Fan Mile" where half a million spectators were expected to follow the match on large screens.

"I think Germany will win 3-1," Mark, a 23-year-old insurance salesman who travelled almost 300 kilometres (190 miles) from Hamburg, predicted confidently with a beer in his hand and wearing a German flag as a cape.

The scene was similar in other towns and cities, with huge crowds expected at public viewing areas to watch the match beamed in from Vienna while tens of millions will be glued to their TVs at home.

Vendors have been doing a brisk trade in flags, facepaints and national football shirts in a country now much more comfortable with patriotism ever since the 2006 World Cup was held in Germany.

In all, 85 percent of the country's 82 million population will follow the match, according to a survey in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, bringing the country to a halt.

German automakers like Daimler, Volkswagen and Audi plan to shut down production during the game so that their workers can follow the match before the conveyor belts and Europe's biggest economy grind back into action after the final whistle.

The country was however on tenterhooks on news that their talismanic captain Michael Ballack might not take to the field after hurting his leg in training at the team's base in southern Switzerland.

Nevertheless, and despite the fact that Germany will have its work cut out to overcome an in-form Spanish side, 72 percent believe their side will win the "Wunder von Wien" (the Vienna wonder), according to the Bild am Sonntag poll.

"Ballack injured!," the top-selling paper's front page screams. "But we are going to win the cup anyway!" Only one in five took the more pessimistic view - including none other than Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück who perhaps unwisely predicts a 3-1 hammering, the paper said. Eight percent were hedging their bets.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was shown literally jumping for joy in Basel when the winning goal against Turkey hit the back of the net on Wednesday, will watch the match in Vienna along with President Horst Köhler and other ministers.

Merkel became a regular in the stands during the World Cup. She has even taken to giving the players some motherly advice, and after the Turkey match gave an interview in the flash zone area usually reserved for players and managers.

Her spokesman had to keep the chancellor informed by text message of the score in the game against Portugal while she was tied up with more serious matters at an EU summit on June 19. A parade has been organised in central Berlin for Monday for the players - even if they lose - and the city authorities have asked schools to give pupils the afternoon off so they can attend.

"It is very important for us that the team will be greeted by its supporters back in Germany. Berlin has become like a second home to us since the 2006 World Cup," Löw said.

Only one in five German televisions were tuned into something else as almost 30 million viewers were glued to Wednesday's semi-final thriller against Turkey, and Sunday's final was not expected to be any less of a crowd-puller.

Story continues below…

Offers attempting to tempt TV viewers away from the football include the Rowan Atkinson comedy "Johnny English" - dubbed into German - and a programme about real-life animal capers in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, And as always there is a "Schlager" show, that perennial prime-time institution devoted to swingalong oompah songs about falling in love,

mountains and lederhosen.

"I am sure that our team is going to succeed," President Köhler said in a column in the top-selling Bild newspaper on Sunday. "Our opponent is strong...but with their fire in their bellies the German team can beat them."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd