Germany’s national side flew in from Rio de Janeiro – where they beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time on Sunday to secure their fourth championship – on Tuesday morning to a heroes’ welcome.
Boarding an open-top Mercedes truck and trailer emblazoned with the years of their four World Cup victories – 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014 – the team threaded its way through the city along roads lined with thousands of cheering fans.
The players, dressed in black t-shirts bearing a large number 1 and proudly displaying their winners’ medals waved to those below, who held aloft cardboard signs proclaiming “We are all world champions!”
One enthusiastic fan displayed a banner announcing to the team’s goalkeeper: “Neuer, I want to have your baby.”
Others rode their bikes alongside the vehicle, wearing German flags as capes and snapping photos on their phones as they cycled towards the center.
At the Brandenburg Gate there was a festive atmosphere, as the sea of supporters – many of whom had taken the day off to be there – waited patiently for hours for a glimpse of the team.
“We’re so incredibly proud,” one woman told CNN. “It’s a great day for Germany. I’m a waitress but I wouldn’t have missed today – everyone is off work!”
For others, a trip to the “Fanmeile” fans’ zone was “The best lunchbreak of all time.”
Some had traveled long distances to join in the celebrations.
“We’ve come from Frankfurt this morning,” another fan explained. “We arrived at 4.30 am – we just had to come. I’m proud to be German, I’m looking forward to seeing my favorite player Schweinsteiger on stage.”
The crowds erupted in huge cheers as the team finally took to the stage, singing, dancing and clowning around as they showed off the trophy.