The timing couldn't be better. Just as football fans around the world prepare to watch an all-German Champions League final this Saturday, Berlin has been named host of the prestigious soccer event for 2015.
With two German teams playing against one another in this Saturday's Champions League final, it seemed like things couldn't get much better for German football. But, on Thursday, Europe's administrative football body UEFA announced that Berlin's famous Olympic Stadium will host the Champions League final for the first time in 2015.
"During the 2012 final in Munich, I told (UEFA President) Michel Platini that we would like to host such a global event soon," German Football Federation (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach said in a statement. "It is recognition of our abilities as organizers and hosts that this is now happening so soon. I thank UEFA for the trust and promise a fantastic football celebration in Berlin."
The stadium in western Berlin was originally built for the 1936 Olympics. It later hosted three matches for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, and it was renovated ahead of the 2006 World Cup, where six matches were held, including the final in which Italy beat France. With a maximum capacity of just over 74,000 spectators, the Olympic Stadium is currently home to local football team Hertha BSC Berlin.
Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit on Thursday called the decision to hold the popular event in the German capital a "strong signal" for the city, adding that residents would likely be happy to see a German team play in the event.
The country is currently awash in excitement over the upcoming all-German Champions League final at Wembley Stadium in London, where top teams Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will face off in the highly anticipated match.
Munich hosted two Champions League finals in 1993 and 1997, and the western city of Gelsenkirchen hosted the match in 2004.
In addition to naming Berlin's Olympic Stadium for the 2015 Champions League final, UEFA also announced that the National Stadium Warsaw, in Poland, will host the UEFA Europa League final that same year.
kla -- with wires
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