Champagne and currywurst as Germany unites to celebrate World Cup win
Party set to continue for days after national team wins fourth title in Brazil
Berliners came together last night for the happiest finish in their history. As Brazilians go, this fourth World Cup victory – the first as a united Germany – was a painless, but suspense-filled affair.
A quarter of a million fans danced on the spot in disbelief at the Brandenburg Gate while, across town on the city’s Kurfürstendamm boulevard, enough bangers and fireworks went into the air for a decade of New Year’s Eves.
“I wept in the last minutes after Mario Götze scored, hoping Argentina wouldn’t equalise,” said Marko, a 25 year-old in a black-red-gold curly wig. “This could only have happened through team-work.”
Within minutes of the final whistle, Berlin streets east to west were a good-natured gridlock of beeping German cars and sweaty Chinese tricolour polyester. Every kind of happy was here: strangers giving strangers high fives; elderly women on bicycles with flapping flags bigger than themselves; an army of skinny young Thomas Müller lookalikes in national jerseys, nursing beer bottles, smartphones or both in their hands.
Half the crowd was cheering, the other half photographing the cheering. Shortly before 1am the mobile phone network – and Twitter – began to grind noticeably under the weight of digital good cheer being recorded and swapped for posterity.
The mood among the revellers ran the gamut from disbelief – “unglaublich!” to delight – “toll!” and back again. Goofy grins were stained red by dozens of flares as cheers of “Schland! Schland!” spread through the crowd.
“It’s a great night to be here,” shouted 22 year-old Thomas. “Just kiss me,” demanded Katrin, his tired and emotional girlfriend.
“Again?” he replied wearily.
At a corner of the Ku’damm, an entrepreneur in a black-red-gold mankini sold celebratory beer to the thirsty crowd – and did such a roaring trade that the had no time to adjust his painful wedgie.
“World champions tonight in football and beer drinking,” announced one customer, Mehmet, before downing another bottle.
At a stand further along the midnight feast of choice was currywurst and champagne, a bit further a crowd crowded around to listen to their beloved Thomas Müller on a big-screen television.
“If someone like me is stuck for words, it must be something special,” he said from Brazil, choking back tears.
On the opposite side of the Atlantic, the hungry crowd gulped quietly with him. Then they shook themselves, linked shoulders and started hopping around cheering:
“So sehen Sieger aus!” – “Victors look like this” – to the tune of “Brown Girl in the Ring”. Others started a chorus of “Götzeidank”, Thank God – or goal-scorer Götze, depending on how you listened. Either was appropriate on a chaotic, joyous night of very un-German disorder.
The city’s biggest street party since the Berlin Wall fell kept going all night –- and will continue until the national side make it here on Tuesday to join in.