Germany welcomes World Cup heroes

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Tens of thousands of German football fans are giving a hero’s welcome to the World Cup-winning team in Berlin.

Many had gathered since daybreak to welcome the triumphant players who touched down from Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday morning. Huge crowds lined their bus route into the capital.

The main celebrations are at the Brandenburg Gate, where players are displaying the cup on a large stage.

The team’s 1-0 victory over Argentina in Sunday’s final sparked delirious scenes across Germany which are culminating in Tuesday’s celebrations in the centre of Berlin as the team arrived in an open-top bus emblazoned with the years they have won the competition – 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.

The BBC’s Lucy Hockings in Berlin says there is a carnival atmosphere in the city, with thousands taking the day off to witness the spectacle even though Tuesday is not officially a holiday.

Earlier fans gathered on a viewing stage at Tegel airport to witness the arrival of the plane, a Lufthansa jet rebranded “Fanhansa” for the team.

“This is a historic event,” 34-year-old bus driver Bernd Hesse told the AFP news agency, adding that fans of the team had waited 24 years for a German World Cup victory.

“It’s not every day that you get to see something like this,” Hesse said.

Those members of the team that play for Bayern Munich will also get a separate welcome parade in Munich later.

The BBC’s Steve Evans in Berlin says that the city has been transformed for the arrival, with the old sponsors’ logos for the tournament torn down and new ones for the home-coming put up.

Commercial opportunities are being maximised, our correspondent says.

It is not clear if Chancellor Angela Merkel will appear during the celebrations. She was photographed with the team shortly after the final whistle at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The German victory in Brazil was the first time the competition had been won in South America by a European nation.

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