Berlin: Germany coach Joachim Loew told hundreds of thousands of jubilant fans in Berlin on Tuesday celebrating his team's World Cup victory that they shared the title with his players.
"We are all world champions," he said at a massive street party at the capital's Brandenburg Gate after the team's triumphant arrival from Rio de Janeiro.
"Of course we are all overjoyed now to be with the fans," he added, as the capacity crowd at the so-called Fan Mile venue behind the landmark symbol of national unity waved black, red and gold German flags.
Germany's coach Joachim Loew celebrates during a victory parade of Germany's football national team on Tuesday at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate. Pic/AFP
Captain Philipp Lahm hoisted the World Cup trophy to a giant roar from the crowd.
"What a mood here, thanks so much to everyone," Lahm said as he passed the golden statuette to his fellow players.
Team members wearing black shirts emblazoned with the number one took the stage in groups to greet ecstatic supporters. They carried a giant banner reading "Obrigado Fans", "thank you" in Portuguese in a nod to tournament hosts Brazil, and "the fourth title is ours".
Mario Goetze, who scored the only goal in Sunday's nail-biter final against Argentina, called the Mannschaft's win "a dream". "We played an amazing tournament," he said. "It's an incredible feeling."
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger appeared with the black, red and gold German flag draped from his shoulders, with a bandage still affixed below his eye from an injury he suffered in a clash during the final.
The players jumped and danced in a raucous circle on the stage, singing "this is how the Germans win, this is how the Germans win".
The extra-time victory against Argentina earned a fourth title for a German team and the first for the country since national reunification in 1990.
Crowds began massing in central Berlin before dawn and thousands more supporters gathered on a viewing platform under warm summer sunshine at Tegel airport to meet the plane, a Lufthansa jet rebranded "Fanhansa" for the team.
"This is a historic event," said 34-year-old bus driver Bernd Hesse, who managed to follow all the matches in Brazil on the radio when he was behind the wheel. He noted that Germany fans had waited 24 years to bask in the glory of a World Cup victory, the first since the reunification of the country.
"It's not every day that you get to see something like this," he said.
Lydia Lampa, a 28-year-old advertising executive, stopped by the airport with a friend on her way to work. Wearing a Germany jersey adorned with the coveted fourth star for the latest World Cup win and a Hawaiian-style garland of plastic flowers in the national colours black, red and gold, she said she had watched every World Cup match featuring the Mannschaft.
"This is my way of saying thank you," she said. "All the games were exciting and I wanted to see the players at least once live. I had a good feeling from the start of the tournament and I though, 'OK, this time we're going to win'."