The Top Ten reasons we love the Germans and their football
10: Euro 88
Stuttgart was where it all began when we took our first steps onto the world stage. Ireland appeared at a major finals for the first time and in our opening game at the Neckar Stadium in Stuttgart, we beat England. (Look out for the German policemen behind the goal on the replay. As Houghton’s header hits the net, they’re trying to hide their applause)
9: The story that Germany’s past away kits were green because Ireland were the first team to play them after World War II. Unfortunately, it’s not true but it doesn’t stop the Irish wishing it was.
8: The Bundesliga. Great German beer at the grounds, cheap season tickets, and terracing allowed. Proper football.
7: This, and the good nature of the Germans whose ambassador hosted the flag owners at the embassy in Dublin
6: The return to Stuttgart in 2006. A deflected goal meant a 1-0 defeat but the atmosphere in the city was electric.
5: Gerd Müller, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthäus, Jürgen Klinsmann, Oliver Kahn, Michael Ballack
4: Borrussia Dortmund fans and Tifo displays.
BVB sell out their 80, 700 capacity Signal Iduna Park home on most Bundesliga weekends. The supporter-owned club marks the way forward for European football. Taken from the brink of extinction to a Champions League final, they are the main challengers to the big money-spending Bayern Munich.
3: You can never write…
2: World champions
Jogi Loew’s side were most people’s favourite team to watch in Brazil and were worthy winners of the trophy. With five goals, Thomas Müller was one shy of repeating his feat of finishing as the tournament’s top scorer as he did four years before in South Africa. And he’s only 25.
And the number one reason we love the Germans and their football
1: It is one of the abiding memories of Euro 2012, and made headlines around the world, when the Irish supporters sang the Fields of Athenry during the the game with Spain. On German television, commentators stopped talking to allow viewers to hear the Irish fans.