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Germans celebrate World Cup triumph
World Cup winners Germany touched down on home soil on Tuesday morning as they returned to Berlin with the much-coveted top prize in football.
Captain Philipp Lahm led his champions from the aircraft shortly after 10am local time, followed by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was wearing the German flag, and the team were greeted by excited fans trying to get a glimpse of the trophy as they made their way through the airport.
During their 11-hour flight it was reported in newspaper Bild that the Germany players managed to get some rest after partying on Monday to celebrate their fourth World Cup triumph following a reported two-hour delay after a baggage carrier had touched the plane.
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil was delighted to touch down on home turf, and said on his Twitter account: " back in the country of the world champions :-) #DFBTeam #happy."
Thousands of supporters lined the Fan Mile in the centre of Berlin as the team and manager Joachim Low, who were all dressed in identical winners T-shirts, took to an open-top truck to parade the World Cup trophy and show off their medals on their homecoming.
On the side of the black Mercedes truck was painted the years of Germany's triumphs at the biggest tournament in world football, "1954, 1974, 1990, 2014!"
The president of the German Football Association (DFB) Wolfgang Niersbach was excited about the reception for the squad and he said in an interview with ARD: "This is a dream. Seeing this enthusiasm. I do not know what in our country more can trigger this sense of belonging as this World Cup.
"Our players are looking forward incredibly to enjoy this moment."
Germany coach Low held the trophy aloft to the sound of much cheering and applause as the truck slowly made its way through the thick crowds with hundreds of fans following behind as they hailed their heroes.
The team were euphoric as they were welcomed by the Berlin crowds and Ozil tweeted again and posted some photographs of the cheering crowds beside the River Spree, and said: "what a crowd! unbelievable! #GER #Berlin #Fanmeile."
The sea of fans were chanting for their heroes "Deutschland, Deutschland, Deutschland!" as the truck continued through the city streets with no sign of the road or pavements, just people celebrating as they made their way to the Brandenburg Gate.
"It's beautiful. It feels very good, it's all gone perfectly for us," Andre Schurrle told sportbild.bild.de.
While Toni Kroos added: "It was a great World Cup."
When the truck reached the Brandenburg Gate, where a stage covered in green carpet had been erected to welcome the players, the waiting crowds were delighted to catch a glimpse of their returning heroes and the trophy shining in the Berlin sunshine.
As part of the entertainment during the victory celebrations, Lahm snuck out behind four of his team-mates, who were walking with bowed heads and arms behind their backs as their captain concealed the prize.
The players walked ahead of him along the raised platform - as if it was a catwalk - and the quartet then suddenly fell to the ground while the Germany skipper lifted the trophy aloft to the cheering and applause of the gathered crowds.
The DFB wrote on its Twitter account, above a photograph of the stunt: "The last WG - where is the captain? Where is Philipp Lahm?"
The squad then continued to celebrate as they danced about and played air-guitar, then kicked out mini replicas of the World Cup football into the mass of supporters in the centre of the German capital before they began to do the Conga around the stage, led by Schweinsteiger who was holding the trophy into the air.
Thomas Muller posted a photograph of himself in front of the jubilant gathered crowd on Twitter, and said: "Waaaaaaaahhhhnnnnnssiiiiiiinnn! Thank you for this great reception! Dear fans, you are a champion!"
It was reported in Kicker that some of Germany's World Cup winners were set to be honoured again with more celebrations planned in Munich on Tuesday evening in a reception at the airport, 1700 local time.
Bayern's winners Lahm, Muller, Manuel Neuer, Mario Gotze, Schweinsteiger and Kroos would be joined by Lazio striker Miroslav Klose and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, Kicker stated.