The european soccer championship kicks off on friday with the opening match between poland and greece, and many soccer fans are eagerly anticipating the rough sporting event. Numerous german fans will then once again be watching their team's progress live at the public viewing on the maxplatz in bamberg, hoping and perhaps also trembling. But how do the polish and greek burghers celebrate??
"I am a self-confessed fan of bavaria. But even at the european championship, my football heart beats more for the german team than for the polish team", reports the pastor mieczyslaw turek, who lives in soft water.
Although he has sympathy for a few polish players in the national league, he has not been able to find anything exciting about the polish national team in recent months, says the native of eastern poland, who came to germany in 1983. "This is not to say that my country of origin, poland, is indifferent to me, but I will be rooting for the german team first and the polish national team second", describes the catholic pastor.
If his tight schedule allows it, he will probably watch the soccer games at home in front of the tv set. He can also imagine integrating the topic of soccer into one of his sunday sermons. "I think that individual concepts from the world of ball, such as punishment or fairness, can be well addressed, he says. First, however, he is looking forward to tomorrow's opening match, which he would like to enjoy in peace and quiet.
Hryssi dimitrakopoulou, a restaurateur living in bamberg, is also looking forward to the european championships. "I hope that we will see beautiful games and experience a good atmosphere", he says. Although his football heart beats first and foremost for greece, he does not believe that the greek "european championship miracle" will happen of 2004 – when greece won the title under german coach otto rehhagel – will be repeated. He will be happy if his home country makes it to the second round.
In germany since 1960
By the way, he is not mourning the ex-coach rehhagel. "He should have left right after his huge success, then he would have left as a hero." The greek, who has been living in germany since 1971, will watch the games on big screen in his restaurant, the bamberger sportgaststatte jahn, if time permits. And for every greek goal he will buy every guest an ouzo.
The fubball fan angelos konstantinidis, known to many as the "angelos from the fish tavern no. 1", on the other hand, germany rather than greece will get the thumbs up at the european championships. "I've lived in germany since 1960, have a german wife and also feel german", he describes. Of course, he will also cheer for greece and be happy if they get past the first round. However, the native greek would prefer both teams to reach the final. "I can still remember exactly when we won the european championship in 2004. Not only in greece was there a lot of celebration, but also here in bamberg", he reports. At that time, there was free beer and ouzo for everyone in his business. That's why he's already mourning the coach rehhagel, who brought greece its first ever european championship victory.
"The better one shall win"
At the current european championship he will try to catch as much of the games as possible. "We set up a big screen in the sports hostel in gundelsheim and whenever the guests shout that a goal has been scored, I rush out of the kitchen to see who scored it." Unfortunately he will not have time to watch the games with other greek friends. "But every time she scores a goal in greece, I buy the guests an ouzo", promises angelos.
And what about the greek and polish women, how enthusiastic are they about football??
Anna pantermali, owner of the greek restaurant "rhodos", is not so interested in this in hallstadt. Nevertheless, she has sympathy for both the german and the greek teams. "I have lived in germany for a long time, so i am happy when the germans win. And when the greeks win, I'm happy too", she says.
Bamberg nurse regina jamroziak wants to watch mainly the german and polish games. She has lived in germany for 22 years, but two hearts beat in her chest when she plays soccer. "I will give my thumbs up to the polish half and to the german half of course", she emphasizes. If both teams make it to the final, the better one should win.