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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Turkish delight in German success
Turkish soccer fans celebrate in Mannheim their team's victory over South Korea
There are strong historical links between Germany and Turkey

As 1.5 billion people sit down to watch the World Cup final it is likely that the vast majority of viewers will be rooting for Brazil.

When it comes to a choice between sexy football and football by numbers it would seem there is only one winner.

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Sunday's game is a great clash between two very different styles - a team of magicians and the other of scientists.
Close Quote
Alpar Fendo

Except, of course, if you are German.

Which is very much the case with Alpar Fendo, a German citizen born of Turkish parents, who will be rooting for Germany when they go head-to head with Brazil.

Fendo works in Munich as a consultant for KPMG, but on Sunday he will join 10,000 other Germans in Stuttgart's Schlossgarten to watch the game on a big screen.

The consultant grew up in Stuttgart.

Indeed he played for the city's two clubs - VFB Stuttgart and Stuggarter Kickers - as a youth player, before he swapped football boots for balance sheets.

"I am going to support Germany," said Fendo as he looked forward to the game.

"I grew up in Germany and I live and work in Germany."

Turkey's own resurgence as a football nation in reaching the semi-finals has had much to do with Germany.

Not only do a number of German coaches work in Turkey, but there is a generation of German-born Turks who play the national side.

Umit Davala, Tayfun Korkut, Yildiray Basturk and Tayfur Havutcu, defender Ogun Temizkanoglu and strikers Umit Karan and Ilhan Mansiz are all German born.

Twenty-eight per cent of all German immigrants are of Turkish descent - the Turkish community in Germany numbers two-and-a-half million - with the largest concentrations in Berlin and Cologne.

Mehmet Scholl missed out on the World Cup due to injury
Germany's Mehmet Scholl is of Turkish descent

"Obviously it was harder for my parents, but I feel integrated into Germany society," adds Fendo.

"It is all to do with the way you think, though I admit that when I am in Germany, I feel Turkish, but when I am in Turkey, I feel German."

"Obviously I wanted to Turkey to do well while they were in the competition.

"My dream would have been Turkey playing Germany in the final. That would have been fantastic.

"If that had happened then I would have wanted Turkey to win, but more for reasons that Senol Gunes' team would have been been the underdogs.

"Turkey is a smaller country and it is not as economically well off as Germany.

"It's a social thing. In the same way it's probably more important for Brazil that they win the game.

"Win or lose we are going to have a party in Germany on Sunday."

German modesty

In England there is a stereotype of the German team, both past and present, not only of being efficient, but also of being arrogant.

But Fendo paints a very different picture of the two teams' relative merits.

"It's true that Sunday's game is a great clash between two very different styles - a team of magicians and the other of scientists.

"But Brazil have been a little bit arrogant, particularly in the way Rivaldo behaved in the group game against Turkey.

"I know there is a perception that Germans are arrogant but that hasn't been the case in this tournament.

Turkey's Yildiray Basturk
Basturk is one of many German-born Turks in Senol Gunes' team

"Whenever you see the players being interviewed in the media they always come across in a modest way.

"And you can see that modesty in the way the team has played.

"Everyone talks about Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack.

"But a lot of players in Voeller's side have quietly gone about their jobs - players like Didi Hamann.

As to who will win, Fendo looks to the tournament's previous shocks as a good omen for Germany.

"This World Cup has been crazy. You never know....."


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