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The Local's top ten sports stories of 2012

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The Local's top ten sports stories of 2012
Photo: DPA
08:25 CET+01:00
It was a bumper year for European sports fans, with the London Olympics and the Euro 2012 football championship - but it wasn't always a shining trail of glory for Germany's athletes. The Local looks back at the year's sporting highs and lows.

While the national football team reached the semi-finals at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, for the pundits it felt like the "golden generation" squad had underachieved.

And though Germany finished a solid sixth in the Olympic medals table, with 11 golds and 44 medals in all, the final tally was well below expectations. There was disappointment at the failure of the swimmers in particular to make a splash.

Elsewhere, illustrious eras ended in both football and Formula One, as the long, battle-scarred careers of Michael Ballack and Michael Schumacher finally drew to a close, while one of the country's most illustrious motor racing tracks faced financial meltdown. Here's our review of the sporting year:

Before the summer of sport even started, German spirits were laid low after Bayern Munich were bashed at home in the Champions League final:

Misery in Munich after Chelsea win Champions League

And then even before Euro 2012 got going, the controversy of Ukraine's human rights record took hold. There was even talk of boycotting the tournament because of the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. We asked you to have your say:

Should soccer be used as a political football?

And the German team got into an unseemly row with Germany's Central Council of Jews over a visit to Auschwitz:

German team hits back at Auschwitz visit criticism

In the competition itself, the much-fancied, well-oiled German machine ended up being dumped out by some old rivals:

Ciao! Italians kick Germany out of Euro

The Olympics were not without controversies of their own, first because a star high-jumper had to deal with a stalker who sent her pictures of his genitals:

Stalker fined for sending genital pic to high jumper

And then Ex-Olympic rower Nadja Drygalla made headlines when she left the Games - or was forced out - because it emerged that her boyfriend was a neo-Nazi. We asked you if athletes can represent their country regardless of who they mix with?

Can a Nazi's lover represent Germany?

Team Germany may missed its medals targets, but the London Olympics brought many tears of joy and despair:

Germany's triumphs and disasters at London 2012

Elsewhere in the sporting universe, German motor sport was rocked by the financial woes and possible demise of one of its most venerable race tracks:

Iconic Nürburgring track heads into final lap

And an F1 legend took his final bow:

Schumi calls it a day

As did another sporting hero - former national football team captain Michael Ballack. And it turns out he was more hard up than many imagined:

Ballack: I'm too poor to pay speeding fine

The Local/bk

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