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Roared on by huge support, Turkey beats Germany in Berlin

Turkey soccer Yusuf Sari, Turkey celebrates - The Canadian Press

BERLIN (AP) — Roared on by huge support in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Turkey came from behind to beat Germany 3-2 in a friendly that seemed more like a home game for the visitors on Saturday.

Foreign-born players scored all three goals for Turkey.

The French-born Yusuf Sari got the winner from the penalty spot in the 71st minute, after German-born Kenan Yildiz and Dutch-born Ferdi Kadıoğlu had scored before the break.

Supporters carrying Turkey’s distinctive red flag outnumbered their German counterparts in a city that’s home to a large community of people with Turkish roots. Most are descendants of Turkish “guest workers” who arrived in what was West Germany to help rebuild the post-war economy. Many came to West Berlin and continue to shape the reunified city today.

German fans’ attempts to encourage their team were met by a chorus of whistles at the start of the second half.

“You have to say that we had an away match in the capital,” said Niclas Füllkrug, who scored Germany’s second goal early in the second half when he finished off a counterattack led by the impressive Florian Wirtz.

Kai Havertz, playing in an unaccustomed left-back role, opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Füllkrug equalized for Germany, which slumped to its first defeat under Julian Nagelsmann in the new coach's first game at home.

Nagelsmann was appointed in September to restore the team’s shaken confidence after years of disappointment under predecessors Hansi Flick and Joachim Löw. He started with a win against the United States and draw against Mexico in the U.S. last month.

Germany started positively in both halves but missed good chances with Leroy Sané going close and Turkey goalkeeper Altay Bayindir stretching out his foot to deny Julian Brandt a late equalizer.

“We did not start well in either half,” Turkey’s German-born captain Kaan Ayhan said. “Our reaction was super and I think our fans also played a role. They were always positive. We gave them something back and they gave us something, they gave us energy.”

İlkay Gündoğan – the first Germany captain of Turkish heritage – was whistled before and during the game by the Turkey supporters.

He used to be whistled by Germany fans.

Gündoğan and national teammate Mesut Özil bore the brunt of German frustration after the team’s disappointing performance at the 2018 World Cup. Both have Turkish roots, and both were heavily criticized in Germany for posing with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a photo before the tournament.

The furor eventually prompted Özil to quit the national team, citing racism at the heart of anti-Turkish comments from far-right politicians and fans. Gündoğan distanced himself from the photo incident in Britain but was still subjected to fans’ abuse during Germany games.

There was a heavy police presence for Saturday's match, including water cannon and other riot-management vehicles.

Fighting broke out among some fans near the media area early in the second half. At least one man was left mopping up a bloody nose.

Erdoğan was in Berlin the day before for a tense visit following his criticism of staunch German ally Israel. He didn’t stay for the game.

Both Germany and Turkey have qualified for Euro 2024, the former as host.

Ayhan said Turkey’s Germany-based supporters could also be an asset during the tournament.

“It can be an important factor,” Ayhan said.


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