A British Look at the Bayern-Dortmund Rivalry
Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Car horns honked and fans spilled on to the streets of Munich to celebrate Bayern’s triumph 700 miles away at Wembley. “It was a great relief – everybody is happy,” said Michael Schoen, a 37-year-old Bayern fan. “People are out on the street singing and everybody is heading out for the parties that are going to happen later. It was a great game and a great final.”
While Germans had expected Bayern to win, more than two-thirds had hoped the underdogs Borussia Dortmund would prosper. Pubs decked out in yellow and black erupted in cheers as Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty went in but in the end they were left disappointed.
“It’s very emotional,” said Donya Zahireddini, a 37-year-old Dortmund supporter. “Dortmund have become so much better.”
In Berlin, cheers of elation and screams of frustration echoed through the streets as the final whistle blew on a match featuring two of the country’s most loved – and hated – teams. Tens of thousands stood in the rain at the capital’s Fan Mile – the long road stretching up to the Brandenburg Gate – marvelling that the weather in Germany could actually be worse than that greeting fans in London. But defying the damp and the threats of potential terror attacks at public viewings, fans kitted all in red or black and yellow were in high spirits, shouting and singing as they watched on a huge screen backed by one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks.
Bemused tourists, who had stumbled on the event while visiting the city, also braved the rain armed with umbrellas and rain coats to watch the match.
“It’s been really fantastic, it’s just a pity about the weather,” said Marco Crestan, a 40-year-old Italian in the city for the weekend. “We thought it was strange for two German teams to get through but it’s probably the richest country, so it’s not an accident.”
Many opted to watch the final from the shelter of pubs, many of which were decorated in the colours of their chosen teams and echoed with the sounds of shouts and chants.
In Dortmund, more than 12,000 fans gathered around a 20×7 metre screen – Germany’s largest – set up in the Westfalenhalle venue, while another 45,000 watched on televisions set up around the city.
“Everything is decorated in black and yellow,” said a correspondent speaking from Dortmund on Berlin’s Radio Eins. “Fans have been singing since midday.”
Meanwhile, in Munich, around 75,000 supporters turned out at the Allianz Arena to cheer on Bayern.
Germany was divided on which side to support. Germany’s leading newspaper, Bild, led with a front page asking readers whether they would be supporting the reds – Bayern – or the yellows – Dortmund – and running answers from famous actors, politicians and other personalities as well as citizens.
“I’m really sad because Munich won,” said Andreas Kipp, 37. “It’s fair enough but I just hate to see them win. They are like Manchester United in the 1990s, the club with the most money that is able to buy all the [best] players.”
Most agreed that whichever team won, it still meant a victory for German teams.
“It was a special game because it’s the first time two German teams have made it through together,” said Zahireddini. “England is like the motherland of football and everyone looks at football in England, there’s a long history and for every player it’s special to play at Wembley.”