Berlin welcomes back Joachim Löw’s Lions for Brandenburg Gate celebration
All-night party after Germany’s fourth World Cup win
Lead by captain Philipp Lahm and head coach Joachim Löw, the German delegation left their base for the last time yesterday and boarded a special Lufthansa flight 2014, cheering: “Berlin! Berlin! We’re flying to Berlin!”
The capital is ready to welcome the fourth victorious national team – many of them not old enough to remember the last World Cup win in 1990.
The so-called “Fan Mile” between the Brandenburg Gate and Siegessäule victory column has been given an important new addition: a 30-metre catwalk to allow Mario Götze and gang get closer to bleary-eyed fans.
Jubilant crowdA quarter of a million cheering Berliners braved tropical rain showers here on Sunday evening. Two nail-biting hours later the jubilant crowd marched off into the night cheering “The Number One in the World, that’s us”, to the tune of When the Saints Go Marching In.
A few red-eyed fans were back again yesterday – if they ever left – to stake out their patch for today’s welcome home party.
“I wept in the last minutes after Götze scored, hoping Argentina wouldn’t equalise,” said Marko, a 25 year-old, sweating heavily in a black-red-gold curly polyester wig. “This could only have happened through team-work.”
The all-night party saw enough fireworks and bangers go off for a decade’s New Year’s Eve parties. The capital hadn’t heard so many bangs since ’45, nor had it seen so many cheering revellers since the Love Parade left town.
Around 15,000 people stormed the Kurfürstendamm boulevard in the western city where, high above the good-natured gridlock, an energetic fan conducted a sing-song while dangling from a traffic light. An entrepreneur in a black-red-gold mankini made a small fortune selling beer from a cooler.
Yesterday morning early risers and all-night revellers stormed the sports shops to snap up a tiny contingent of new national jerseys with the all-important fourth star. A fresh batch, Adidas ensured everyone else, is already underway from China.
The reactions of Germany’s great and good – including a photo album of selfies -- spread out within minutes across the internet.
“The people in our country are proud of this team,” noted Merkel on Facebook, clearly still sober.
Gauck, caught on camera as one of the first in the stadium on his feet after the Götze goal, was more enthused: “I was so moved and emotional, the chancellor too. We were caught up in this cloud of emotion and then the joy is great that it has to come out.”
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble didn’t miss a trick yesterday, presenting a special commemorative stamp at 11am.
“With this win, the Germans are hot on the heels of five-time winners Brazil,” he said.
Giants of World Cups past lined up to congratulate Löw’s lions yesterday.
‘Everything right’“Joachim Löw did everything right,” cheered 1974 World Cup winner and 1990 winning manager Franz “Kaiser” Beckenbauer on German television. “They were the best team in the tournament, and it was a team success. We had no outright superstar, the superstar was the team.”
The German media was understandably effusive, with several critics of Löw’s long-term strategy forced to eat their hats in public.
“If there is a suitable time to don the sackcloth and ashes, then now,” conceded Die Welt writer Oscar Beck who, before the tournament, predicted Löw would join the ranks of Beethoven and Schubert of famous Germans who left behind “unfinished masterpieces”.
The Bild tabloid said the winner was the entire team. “We’re world champions, wow does that sound good . . .”
Some 34.6 million Germans watched the game at home – an all-time record that didn’t include the many millions who watched the match in pubs or in public viewing settings.
The returning team can look forward to a world champion pay day of €300,000 each – a considerable rise on the 2,500 deutschmark bonus paid to the “Miracle of Bern” winning side in 1954.
The all-night party may have hit German productivity yesterday – don’t buy a BMW built this morning in Bavaria – but Germany’s stock market soared up almost 1 per cent regardless.
Berlin hospitals are bracing themselves for a surge of Brazil babies next April after today’s final party, when German singer-songwriter Andreas Bourani warms up the crowd with his official team anthem: To Us.
“Who can freeze these moments, it can’t get any better,” he sings.
“Think of the days behind us, and how long we share the joy and tears.”