Meet German Football's Biggest Fan

Hundreds of thousands of jubilant German soccer fans took to the streets Wednesday night to celebrate Germany's thrilling 3-2 Euro 2008 semi-final win over Turkey.

The dramatic match, watched on TV by several million viewers worldwide, was dominated by the Turkish team, which played with a fearlessness of spirit and a precision in their passes that Germany rarely matched.

Indeed, many German fans were truly worried about their team's performance, seeing it outplayed for long periods during the game.

Among the fans was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who attended the match in the St. Jakob Park stadium in Basle, Switzerland.

She told reporters after the match, "I really must say I often had to catch my breath. The Turkish team played a really good match. But, of course, I'm happy to see the German team winning. "

Merkel has admitted to being one the the German team's biggest fans.

She has missed only one match of the Euro 2008 tournament, because she got stuck at a European Union summit in Brussels last week, but her aides kept her on top of the game by sending her text messages.

She first revealed she was a real soccer buff during the World Cup in Germany two years ago.

Ever since, German television often shows cutaways of her jumping up and down, applauding whenever Germany has scored.

Her aides say she regularly sends players text messages, and she's been invited to their changing room for pep talks.

Merkel reportedly chided German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger for getting suspended from the Austria game last week.

He told reporters, "She told me I should not do the same stupid things again. When Frau Bundeskanzler says you have to do something, you have to do it."

Last night, however, Frau Chancellor had no reason to be unhappy.

She saw her team winning an uphill battle in one of the wilder finishes of an unpredictable European Championship, when German player Philip Lahm l at the last minute -- the 90th minute to be precise -- scored and secured the victory over Turkey.

"We have caught the winning mood, and we can get the title now," Germany coach Joachim Loew said at a press conference after the match, admitting that "it was a crazy, incredible drama."

Germany will now play the winner of tonight's second semi-final match between Spain and Russia.

And among the many thousand fans attending the final in Vienna Sunday is going to be their most famous supporter: German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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