Germans looks beyond intriguing Turkey semi-final

June 24th, 2008 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Hamburg, June 24 (DPA) The whole of Germany dreams of the Euro 2008 final and possibly another major football title, but first comes an intriguing semi-final date with Turkey in Basel Wednesday. A party atmosphere is all but guaranteed for Wednesday’s match as more than half a million German and Turkish fans are set to watch from the nation’s biggest fan zone in Berlin alone.

The match has special implications, given the large Turkish community of 2.2 million in Germany. But security forces are upbeat that there will be no disturbances as violence has been no factor so far around the tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

“Let us celebrate a big football party,” was the front-page headline on Tuesday in the Hamburger Abendblatt daily.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to attend the match in Basel, Switzerland.

The Bild tabloid featured prominent Turks such as award-winning movie director Fatih Akin and reminded Germans of their love for kebab.

“We live together in Germany and I hope the game goes without provocation. There is a great relationship between Turks and Germans,” said Joachim Loew, the Germany coach who trained in Turkey in the past.

Germany-born Turkey midfielder Hamit Altintop agreed: “This semi-final should not be misused for nationalism.”

On the pitch, the German camp refuses to underestimate the Turkish team, which reached the final four with astonishing last-minute fightbacks in its last three games.

Loew and captain Michael Ballack named Turkey “unpredictable”.

But a long Turkish injury and suspension list, coupled with Germany’s classy 3-2 quarter-final victory against Portugal, has led to sky-high optimism in the country.

“I believe in our team,” said former playmaker Guenter Netzer, who won the Euro 1972 title, in a column for Bild Tuesday.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) said that the team had matured over two years following the home World Cup which was dubbed “a summer fairly tale” - leaving only the fans to party while the players now deliver with an impressive version of the famed German efficiency.

“The German national 11 is no longer a team which is good for a summer fairy tale. But that doesn’t matter because it is good enough to win the title,” the SZ said.

“This team doesn’t want to write a fairy tale but a real story.”

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