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Germany fans offer mixed views on their Euro chances
Schalke’s stadium was awash with black, red and gold on Saturday evening as thousands of Germany fans turned out in rainy Gelsenkirchen to give the national team a rousing send-off to Euro 2008.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was there but chose a lime green jacket and white trousers instead of a Germany shirt, tricolor wig and scarf. She also wisely avoided the face paints.
Before the kick off against Serbia, Germany’s last friendly before their first match against Poland in Klagenfurt on June 8, I mingled with fans next to the sausage stand by the press area to gauge the mood.
Flag-draped student Maximilian Kahre from near Bielefeld said the fact Germany were one of the favourites might be a disadvantage as the pressure for success would be greater.
“It’s not good for us but I think we will do it anyway,” he said, clutching a black, red and gold garland around his neck. “There’s not much difference between the teams though,” he added. “Anyone could win it.”
“Sieg! (Victory!),” beamed Dorthe Brugger, a 30-year-old pharmaceuticals analyst from Munich, when asked what she expected from the national team. Schalke 04 striker Kevin Kuranyi was the standout player right now, she added.
Karsten Krull, a 40-year-old Schalke-supporting accountant from Detmold, said he expected Germany to reach at least the semi-finals but that he feared France or Italy would prove too good. Holland also had a decent chance, he added.
“The strongest German players at the moment are (Michael) Ballack and (Torsten) Frings, they are the strategists,” he said, turning to his seven-year-old son Vincent to ask whether he thought Germany had a chance of winning.
“No,” Vincent said, clutching a German flag. “Italy are the best.”
PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves to supporters during a friendly match between Germany and Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, May 31. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender