London party for German football fans: About 150,000 descend on Wembley for Champions League final

 

German football fans painted London town red – and yellow and black – last night as the capital opened its doors to an estimated 150,000 who travelled to experience the atmosphere of the Champions League final, even if they didn't have tickets.

Before setting off for Wembley to see the first all-German final in European football's showpiece, fans wearing the red of Bayern Munich or the instantly recognisable yellow and black of Borussia Dortmund descended on Trafalgar Square to sing and be merry. Despite Wembley Stadium's 90,000 capacity, many more made the trip from Germany to take in the carnival atmosphere.

The event has seen a welcome spike in Anglo-German relations, particularly in football. It has afforded a chance to repay the hospitality shown to England fans in Germany at the 2006 World Cup.

Even before a ball had been kicked last night, Germans were celebrating Wolfsburg's first ever win in the Women's Champions League, denying Lyon a third successive win.

Last night's blue-riband encounter was only slightly tempered by rival German fans fighting earlier in the day. Video footage showed a small number hurling chairs and other objects at each other in a Wembley car park as police were forced to intervene.

The official Champions League Final dinner on Friday was also disrupted by three people protesting against the Under-21s European Championship being hosted by Israel next month. Uefa described the incident as a "minor disturbance", and police said two people were detained.

Before last night's kick-off, Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert said his country was excited to have their first European champions since Bayern overcame Valencia on penalties in 2001.

"It takes a lot to make Germans excited, but they are right now," he said. "The Champions League is a great football competition, and having two German teams there for the first time is an outstanding experience."

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