As the final whistle blows on tonight’s Champions League clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – the first all‑German final – there will be one spectator smiling no matter the result. Angela Merkel, who will travel to Wembley, insists she is “supporting Germany”. And for fans of that team, life has hardly tasted sweeter.
Die Roten and die Borussen reshaped the hierarchy of European football on the road to Wembley. An 11-3 aggregate semi-final victory over Spain’s Barcelona and Real Madrid, hotly tipped favourites, confirmed a shift in power first suggested by star manager Pep Guardiola’s decision to join the Bundesliga over the richer Premier League. The renaissance, however, has been building for some time.
After Germany’s pitiful performance at Euro 2000, its clubs introduced new measures to promote youth development. Their national team now ripples with young German talent. England’s FA – so regularly disappointed in national competition – might learn a thing or two. And, aside from the litter left by 150,000 travelling fans, there is plenty more to pick up from the Germans: their economy attracts as much envy in the Commons as their football teams do outside it. Tonight, from Wembley to Westminster, a chant will be heard – and it’s Deutschland über alles.