In pictures: Thousands welcome home Germany's World Cup winners
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Tens of thousands packed the streets of Berlin on Tuesday to welcome home the triumphant German football team after their World Cup win in Brazil.
The Mannschaft touched down at Berlin’s Tegel Airport midmorning on a Lufthansa flight from Rio, rebranded “Fanhansa” for the team.
Thousands of fans watched from a viewing platform as Captain Philipp Lahm carried the famous World Cup trophy off the aircraft to cheers and a chorus of “Football’s Coming Home”.
He was followed by midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, draped in a German flag and sporting a bandage under his right eye, the result of a cut in the 1-0 win over Argentina in the final on Sunday.
From the airport, the team set off for downtown Berlin, where more than 250,000 had gathered at the “Fan mile” outside the Brandenburg Gate for a chance to get a glimpse of the country’s World Cup heroes. Some had even been waiting overnight to get a place at the front.
The team made the last part of their journey aboard an open-top bus to celebrate in full view of the fans, who have waited 24 years to see Germany lift the World Cup following their last victory in 1990.
Germany's Mesut Özil captures video of fans celebrating from open-top bus
It is also the first World Cup victory for the team since the country’s unification.
“This is a historic event,” said 34-year-old bus driver Bernd Hesse, who managed to follow all the matches in Brazil on the radio when he was behind the wheel.
“It’s not every day that you get to see something like this,” he added.
Ulrich Felgentreff said he was born in 1954, the first year West Germany won the World Cup – just nine years after the horrors of World War II, as the country was gradually rejoining the community of nations.
World Champion German Team on bus to Brandenburg Gate for the big party...not too far away pic.twitter.com/3q4jXDuEpV— Lasinga (@Lasinga) July 15, 2014
“Everyone has an immense feeling of pride,” he said, decked out with his family in the national colours. “And that pride grows title by title.”
Supporters waved German flags, which rarely make an appearance outside major sporting events in a country due to its militaristic past.
Thousands wore jerseys marked Mueller, Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Goetze and Lahm after the star players.
The players themselves were buzzing at the chance to revel in their victory alongside the German public.
“We’re all excited to see what it will be like,” Schweinsteiger told ARD television. “This time, thank God, we have the cup with us.”
“It will only sink in for us in the next few days.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)