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.

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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.

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there