Champions League final: Biggest German invasion since the fifth century as Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Wilkommen to the 150,000 fans expected in London for Saturday’s Champion League’s final

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s European Champions League final at Wembley, no-one will be able to deny that the Germans have finally mounted a second successful invasion of the UK.

It will be the largest influx since the 5th-century Adventus Saxonum (arrival of the Saxons).

About 50,000 fans from the two giant clubs – Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – have travelled to London with tickets to the match, and a further 100,000 are estimated to have come from Germany with little prospect of getting inside Wembley. Added to the 275,000 Germans who live in the UK, it is going to be quite a party tonight. Willkommen.

Among the things the hosts could learn? How to boost your economy and halve unemployment, for starters.

Although it is the Germans’ turn to sniff at our choice of sausages – the newspaper Bild has armoured readers with a warning over the hot dogs at Wembley, which as well as being “unbelievably expensive” are “full of fat” – the fans should find a far friendlier reception than they might have expected even just a few years ago.

In a survey of how European nations view one another published earlier this month, although the British named Germans as the “least compassionate” country, we did concede that they were the “most trustworthy” people on the continent.

Professor Heinz Wolff, a bio-engineer best known for appearing on The Great Egg Race, and a British citizen, said that while stereotypes about German efficiency still persist, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “It’s thought of as a centre of economic and industrial competence,” he said. “You only need look at the number of Audis and Mercedes. It’s viewed as a country that produces quality goods.”

Professor Wolff, who fled Germany in 1939, said that today’s younger generations project an image of a more cheerful, confident nation because they are liberated from the baggage of a certain historical event.

“By and large, the people who perpetrated the crimes are dead now,” he said, adding by way of reassurance: “So you don’t have to be afraid any more of sitting next to someone who pushed people into a gas chamber.”

Last year a man was thrown out of a Peterborough pub for talking in German, but the capital is now packed with German-themed bars and restaurants: the better known include Stein’s in Richmond, which stocks Bavarian dishes and ales, and the Octoberfest bar in Fulham.

For Florian Frey, the 33-year-old behind the successful Herman Ze German eatery in central London, more recent events have helped construct a new image for Germany. He cites the 2006 World Cup as an example, when “everyone was celebrating – the English fans with the Germans and the Italians.”

Mr Frey, who will be supporting Munich, added: “People have learned that Germans have got a little bit of humour, and we’ve got some German football players in the Premier League who are doing quite well.”

He promised he’d “never put a beach towel down by the pool in the morning”, but admitted it was “quite charming to play with those clichés”. The name of his restaurant, of course, is a jocular reference to German pronounciation.

If you pick up a newspaper in Berlin, says Professor Wolff, “five to ten per cent of the words are in English”. He said Germans don’t have the same “great pride” in their language as the French, which helps them to integrate better. In fact, in the Pew Research Center poll, both Germany and Britian labelled the French as their “most arrogant” European neighbour – yet another thing in common.

The acclaimed historian Peter Watson said that Britain still allows memories of the Second World War to “swamp” the relationship between the two countries. “Germany has got over losing the War [better than] we have got over winning the War.”

Deutsch in the UK: German expats

Professor Martin Roth

The director of the Victoria and Albert Museum since 2011, Professor Roth was formerly Director General of the Dresden State Art Collections. He said there had been a “definite” change in British attitudes towards Germany over the past 30 years. He challenged the idea that Germans have superior organisational skills, saying you’re just as likely to see “chaotic airport infrastructure” and tardy trains over there.

Lukas Podolski

The Polish-born Arsenal striker had a storming World Cup in 2006, scoring three goals in a campaign that ended in a German third-place finish. Three years later, though, he was fined €5,000 for slapping national-team captain Michael Ballack in the face.

Henning Wehn

Wehn, who is currently playing a sold-out UK tour, proves Germans can do comedy. The 39-year-old has said: “I regularly get heckled with evergreens, such as ‘5-1’ and ‘two World Wars and one World Cup’. They’re only funny the first 8,000 times you hear them.”

Queen Elizabeth II

Our very own Queen is a descendant of Queen Victoria, who was of course married to German Prince Albert.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on