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German chants: from “pyrotechnics” to the national anthem

German chants: from “pyrotechnics” to the national anthem
German chants: from “pyrotechnics” to the national anthem

Thanks to the national team’s success at the European Championships, German football fans are rediscovering their passion for singing. But what are they actually chanting? Six German chants and their history.

Schalalalalalala! Things haven’t gone as well for the German national team as they did at the European Championships at home for a long time. Happy fans celebrate, drink and honk their horns until late into the night after Germany’s games. And they sing – on party streets, in allotments and in living rooms – German fan songs. But which ones are particularly popular with the fans? What are the lyrics? And where do they come from? A brief overview.

“Oh, how beautiful. Oh, how beautiful. You haven’t seen anything like this for a long time, so beautiful, so beautiful”

Many football fans in the Bundesliga know this chant from the fans of FC Bayern Munich, who regularly use it to celebrate the German championship. In 2024, however, it remained silent in the Munich stands – after all, Bayer Leverkusen had already secured its first championship trophy on matchday 29. The lines of the chanting song were written by Hamburg native Walter Rothenburg, who rewrote the popular hit “Oh, how you are beautiful” in the early 1950s. Rothenburg’s only contribution to German sports culture was not his only contribution: he was also the one who organized Max Schmeling’s boxing matches. Today, hardly anyone knows Rothenburg, who died in 1975 – but “Oh, how you are beautiful” can be heard all over the country.

“Pyrotechnics are not a crime. We will fight for it and let emotions run free”

The chant of the hour. Comes from the smoky throat of the TikToker “The Balcony Ultra”. And he lives up to his name: From his balcony in Gera, the Balcony Ultra, whose real name is Niko Thoms, shouts football songs and posts videos of them online. This is also the case with the pyrotechnics song, which he wrote to the melody of Bonnie Tyler’s “It’sa Heartache”. Mallorca stars Ikke Hüftgold and Marc Eggers became aware of Thoms and re-recorded the pyrotechnics song with him. Thoms’ fireworks-friendly song has now become an integral part of stadiums – and the trained geriatric nurse is touring Germany and Mallorca with it.

“Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh”

“Seven Nation Army” by the band The White Stripes. What did it take to become a football hit? A few fans of the Belgian club FC Bruges and an Italian pub where the legendary riff could be heard. Later that evening, their team played against the overwhelming favorites AC Milan in the Champions League group stage. Bruges won the game 1-0, the fans remembered the catchy melody they had heard earlier in the city center and sang it throughout the stadium. The song has now become the goal anthem par excellence, and doesn’t even need lyrics. That’s another reason why fans around the world sing it in arenas.

“Berlin, Berlin, we are driving to Berlin”

As simple as it is catchy. It rang out from the Dortmund stands after the national team knocked the Danes out of the tournament 2-0 in the round of 16 of the 2024 European Championship. Originally used as a battle song by club fans whose teams are still represented in the DFB Cup. The final of the competition will take place in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, where they all want to go with their favorite teams. Just like the fans of Musiala, Havertz and Co. – because the final of the home European Championship will also be held in the capital. The song was invented by the fans of Bayer Uerdingen 05 on Holy Saturday 1985 after the DFB semi-final victory against 1. FC Saarbrücken. And in the final, Uerdingen actually beat the big FC Bayern 2-1 and took home the golden trophy. The fans of the German national team are also hoping for one like that, albeit in silver.

“One goes, one more goes in.”

If mockery were a song, it would be this one. This classic was already used in Germany’s 7-1 victory against Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup to make fun of the opponent. The song always comes from the fans’ lips when their own team scores a lot of goals against their opponents. The German chant is popular – and has even recently made it to Hollywood. The two actors Will Smith and Martin Lawrence can now sing the song. The German national players Ilkay Gündoğan and Antonio Rüdiger taught them during a PR campaign for the new film by the two American superstars.

“Unity and justice and freedom”

The national anthem is as much a part of football as the whistle is to the referee or shin pads are to Florian Wirtz. While some of our compatriots, like the Italians, sing their hearts out before kick-off, for other nations the national anthem also plays a role during the action on the pitch. The English sing theirs when their team is behind, to spur them on. The French sing the Marseillaise throughout the whole game, partly because they don’t have many chants. And the Germans pay homage to their fatherland after the game when their team has won. The European Championship final is on July 14th – perhaps the Germans will sing it again then. But that will be enough for the next two years, until the World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the USA.

Source: Stern

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