Any fears that the clash between Germany and Turkey in the Euro 2008 semifinals would unleash trouble between Germans and the large Turkish community living in the country proved unfounded. In the end it was all about the football, as fans of both teams watched the nail-biting game at venues across the country, cheering side by side.
In Berlin's Kreuzberg district, a stronghold of the city's Turkish community, fans exchanged chants of "Deutschland, Deutschland" and "Turkiye, Turkiye," though in the dying minutes of the game it was supporters of the German team who were shouting loudest when Philipp Lahm struck home in the last minute to clinch a 3-2 victory and a place in Sunday's final.
As the final whistle blew, cheers, honking car horns and a burst of fireworks greeted the German win and fans hit the streets for impromptu parties, singing "Finale!" to the tune of "Volare," climbing lampposts and dancing exuberantly. And the disappointed Turkish fans joined in. In Kreuzberg one supporter of the losing team told SPIEGEL ONLINE: "Germany did win, but we are going to party anyway." Teyfik Yilmaz, a Berliner with Turkish parents, was disappointed, telling the Associated Press: "Turkey played better than Germany.... We didnt pull it off but, but in any case it's the furthest Turkey has ever come and that's a good thing."
Germany is home to about 2.7 million people of Turkish origin around 500,000 of whom are German citizens. In the run up the match, the first time the two countries have met in a major tournament since the 1950s, Turkish and German flags have been flying together from car windows and balconies in a nation gripped by football frenzy.
In downtown Berlin, an estimated 500,000 fans packed into the "fan mile" public viewing area next to the historic Brandenburg Gate, with access shut off a full hour before the game even kicked off after the organizers declared it full. The winning goal by the Germans saw the huge crowd erupt into a frenzy of football celebration.
In Hamburg around 42,000 German and Turkish fans gathered at the city's Heiligengeistfeld venue to watch the fast-paced game. Ahmet Hirac, 35, the son of Turkish immigrants told SPIEGEL ONLINE that he was wearing the Turkish football jersey for the semifinals but: "I will wear my German shirt for the finals." He was philosophical about the Turkish defeat: "I would have been happy no matter who won."
In the end, being of Turkish origin in Germany was a guarantee of a place in the final whatever the result. Before the match 20-year-old Erkan Ak had said: "I'm for Turkey first, but I'll also be happy if Germany wins," To prove the point he wore a German flag on one arm and a Turkish one on the other.
While the general mood was one of good-natured rivalry there were some ugly incidents in the eastern German city of Dresden. After the game around 30 drunken youths attacked at least one Turkish-owned kebab shop in the city, causing some damage. On Thursday a police spokesman told Reuters that one or two Turks had been injured.
With reporting by Ferda Ataman and Birger Hamann.