World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Overflowing Fan Fests

MartinLEIPZIG - As Fletch and I approached Leipzig city centre via tram this afternoon we thought it unusually quiet, assuming tonight's game here between two American teams was not accompanied by many travelling fans.

That illusion was soon shattered as the Hauptbahnhof honed into view - thousands of fans were spilling out of the main station and into the city's pedestrian district.

There were many wearing the light blue and white of Argentina, many more wearing the green and sombreros of Mexico, but today Leipzig was painted black, red and gold.

Check out the video.

The German's enthusiasm for the tournament has steadily grown since their opening win over Costa Rica.

They had waited so long for it to roll around and doubts surrounded Juergen Klinsmann's team's capabilitiy.

All the aprehension and doubt is now gone and following the World Cup is now national obsession number one.

The newspapers are overflowing with stories about the tournament and the bars are overflowing with fans trying to catch a glimpse of the games.

A feature of the tournament, and something which has been praised to the hilt, is the host's willingness to invite ticketless fans to come along and enjoy the football on a big screen in the centre of almost every town of any size.

Today, Leipzig's Augustusplatz had to be closed more than an hour before the start of Germany v Sweden due to overcrowding.

Thousands were crammed in, in front of two massive screens and a stage with live music and cheerleaders going through their routines.

Thousands more were left outside, unable to see the screens due to some strategically placed trees and monuments, with police trying to direct them, in three languages, to a stadium 20 minutes out of town with it's own big screen.

Our experience of the Fan Fests has varied, from seeing only half a screen in Dortmund to partying the night away with the Dutch in Stuttgart - but it seems they are very much the place to be.

After trying to persuade the staff at the hotel opposite to let us on their roof, or at least up to a higher floor so we could shoot some video, we were lucky enough to stumble across the local press club.

After a quick flash of Fletch's accreditation, and a quick bluff from myself, we were on a balcony overlooking the Fan Fest.

Mind you we weren't the only ones.

It seemed every press man from around the region had targetted this terrace and was enjoying a free bottle of beer in the sun - well you would, wouldn't you?

It's my first experience 'behind the scenes' in Germany, so I felt perfectly justified enjoying the game as much as the locals.

The streets are still packed with celebrating Germans, and hopeful Mexicans, all singing the same refrain: "Berlin, Berlin, we're going to Berlin!"

That's true enough, for a quarter-final against this evening's winners, but I'll have more on their aspirations tomorrow...

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 08:37 PM on 24 Jun 2006,
  • celina wrote:

Really glad you found the press club, it's great up there isn't it, fatastic view of the fanfest, apologies for not telling you in advance. Marko is the press officer top bloke. It's open til 1 am and free food and drink. Leipzig is one my favourite German cities, they are so friendly.

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Wow. I never knew that the Germans are so passionate about football so much.I am happy for you that you had a great experience today.
It seems that World Cup 2006 has touched all parts of the world. Indians are
never famous for their passion of football. However, World Cup 2006 is changing
this scenario and this time the TV channel who has the TV rights for India

has seen 500% increase in ad revenue
in the first week of World Cup 2006
compared to 2002. Can you believe it?

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Argentina VS Mexico was very exciting. I saw part of it in a Miami Restaurant called "Fat Tuesday Daiquiri Grill". Everyone was either supporting Argentina or Mexico with all the emotions present.

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  • 4.
  • At 12:22 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Ralph wrote:

I was sitting on the 4th floor of the university at the Augustusplatz, was hoping for some more mexican goals. The cheering was alot louder when Mexico scored.

Hopefully the argentinians will still feel they had to go into overtime when they play Germany.

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  • 5.
  • At 01:55 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Tim wrote:

In berlin tonight it sure was a beautyful evening to stroll through the streets and naturally the games are serving well to bringing people together in a positive way. but for me (as a german) this dumb flagwaving-nonsense-yelling mass obsession is just getting to much. I wonder why they all have that much reason to celebrate themselves.
the public seems to be so manipulatible - its scary. even more so in this particular problem-'nation'.

Anyways - I love the argentina play and I hope they show the little germans where the hammer is. and go to berlin, get the cup. thank you.

by the way. I think the foreign press is overly hyping this country too. and generally overestimating it.

good night.
Tim

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  • 6.
  • At 02:22 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

@Tim
Oh my god, you are so ... GERMAN. Damn can't you just be HAPPY about millions of people celebrating on the street, fans from opposite teams celebrating _together_ peacefully? I wish this celebration would never end, it's so wonderful, the atmosphere is so electric, everybody's going crazy, I just love it! Please do us (all the other Germans & people from abroad) who love this World Cup & really enjoy it the favour to stop whining about everything.

Tom

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  • 7.
  • At 02:24 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Cyril wrote:

Argentina lives on !!!
I watched this match in a tense bar situation, mexican fans yelling at every fowl committed that was not called out by the ref, and argentinian supporters equally enthusiastic. It was aesthetically pleasing to see two south american teams duke it out, i would say clearly one of the best matches of the tournament so far, given the intensity, the effort and of course Rodriguez's amazing goal...also one of the best.

But it begs the question, why couldnt mexico have played football of this stature in their group games..it would probably have put them in first place...although i am also secretly passionate about portugal...
too many conflicting interests in this world cup !!

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  • 8.
  • At 02:24 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Cyril wrote:

Argentina lives on !!!
I watched this match in a tense bar situation, mexican fans yelling at every fowl committed that was not called out by the ref, and argentinian supporters equally enthusiastic. It was aesthetically pleasing to see two south american teams duke it out, i would say clearly one of the best matches of the tournament so far, given the intensity, the effort and of course Rodriguez's amazing goal...also one of the best.

But it begs the question, why couldnt mexico have played football of this stature in their group games..it would probably have put them in first place...although i am also secretly passionate about portugal making it first in the group...
too many conflicting interests in this world cup !!

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  • 9.
  • At 05:56 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • steve wrote:

I am glad that Argentina are through to the last eight because of the great chance that gives England to avenge the "Hand of God"!!

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  • 10.
  • At 06:59 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Steve A wrote:

With our English lads gaining more confidence with each game the writing is on the wall for a 1966 repeat at the final. Let's hope the luck runs out for the Argentines after Mexico let them off the hook, as usual inconsistent refereeing leaves a bitter taste. Surely there can be some consistency before the final game.

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  • 11.
  • At 09:29 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • rich s wrote:

I was in Germany and watched England v Paraguay 2 weeks back and have to say we had the best weekend ever. The Germans were brilliant to us and I thought it was great watching them celebrating after beating Costa Rica. Like the English, it seems the Germans are making the most of this opportunity to wave their flag and good luck to them. I hope Germany make it to the final as it will keep the tournament alive and also because I want to see a Germany v England final. To beat them and take the World cup in Berlin would be the sweetest victory ever. Ah well, we can all dream!

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  • 12.
  • At 10:20 AM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Wernerempire wrote:

Nitpick at Cyril

Unless it was moved without informing me, Mexico is still very much located in North America! :-)

And, as a progressive German ex-pat, I was very worried about this World Cup not becoming the wonderful party that it has become. But, it has!

Furthermore, thanks to Tom and his understanding of the German soul - very indeed, this is how we are :-)
Gosh, eh, stiffer than a ruler, lol.

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  • 13.
  • At 01:19 PM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Andi wrote:

@ #5
Cannot believe what I just read. Tim, thanks to you, thanks to a minority of people like yourself, we Germans are perceived as grumpy, boring, tense, whiny, etc. This year's World Cup is finally changing this view! I really enjoy reading the BBC World Cup Blogs and seeing so many positive comments.

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  • 14.
  • At 03:54 PM on 25 Jun 2006,
  • Georgm wrote:

I agree with Rich S (#11). A Germany-England final would be the hottest thing ever, wouldn't it? So start cheering for Germany this Saturday, folks! :-)
Love this blog, much fun.
Georg

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  • 15.
  • At 07:22 AM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • zargorn wrote:

If anything the cup has to stay in the EU :-).

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  • 16.
  • At 10:20 AM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • stefan wrote:

THANK YOU TOM !!! Funny and sad enough that we germans need encouragement from outside to enjoy ourselves and a bit of patriotism. But the perception of us germans is anyway wrong as it is so much wrongly influenced by this tiny minority of intellectuals and its press wing in this country who never stopp to panic whenever a german flag is waived or any other sign of happy patriotism seems to arise.

Fact is that the vast majority of germans no longer feels directly responsible for what has happened in the past without denying the historical burden. But by now they have developped a sort of pride to be german. And this is OK. And the germans can also celebrate and party and be happy and friendly and and and. just like any other nation. i would wish that we take this huge party as an opportunity to contribute to turn our image abroad to what we really are. to all german grumblers, pundits, intellectuals smart alecks: plaese shut up, at least until 9th july. if you cannot enjoy plaese let the others do

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  • 17.
  • At 10:25 AM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • stefan wrote:

THANK YOU TOM !!! Funny and sad enough that we germans need encouragement from outside to enjoy ourselves and a bit of patriotism. But the perception of us germans is anyway wrong as it is so much wrongly influenced by this tiny minority of intellectuals and its press wing in this country who never stopp to panic whenever a german flag is waived or any other sign of happy patriotism seems to arise.

Fact is that the vast majority of germans no longer feels directly responsible for what has happened in the past without denying the historical burden. But by now they have developped a sort of pride to be german. And this is OK. And the germans can also celebrate and party and be happy and friendly and and and. just like any other nation. i would wish that we take this huge party as an opportunity to contribute to turn our image abroad to what we really are. to all german grumblers, pundits, intellectuals smart alecks: plaese shut up, at least until 9th july. if you cannot enjoy plaese let the others do

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