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Germany World Cup heroes return to huge fan party

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's World Cup-winning team returned home to share the country's fourth title with hundreds of thousands of cheering fans in Berlin on Tuesday. The team's plane touched down at Tegel Airport midmorning after flying low over the "fan mile" in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate. Captain Philipp Lahm led the team off the aircraft with the trophy held aloft, to cheers and a chorus of "Football's Coming Home" from fans on the airport's viewing terrace. He was followed by midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, draped in a German flag and sporting a bandage under his right eye, the result of a cut in the 1-0 win over Argentina in the final on Sunday. From the airport, the team set off on a two-hour trip to downtown Berlin in a bus painted with the years of Germany's World Cup victories: The previous occasions were in 1954, 1974 and 1990. The team climbed aboard an open-top black truck for the last part of the trip to the Brandenburg Gate, inching its way forward through a crowd estimated by parade organizers to be at least 400,000. Forward Lukas Podolski posted a selfie with Schweinsteiger and the trophy. He tweeted: "The Cup is in Berlin!!!" Mario Goetze, who scored the winner in the final, tweeted: "Wow, what's going on here ... AMAZING!" The "fan mile" started filling up hours before the arrival, with some waiting overnight to get a place at the front. "This time, thank God, we have the cup with us," Schweinsteiger told ARD television. "It will only sink in for us in the next few days." The team's plane was about an hour behind schedule, as its departure from Rio de Janeiro was delayed after a luggage truck hit the aircraft and damage to the paintwork had to be inspected.

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