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Argentinian fans in Germany - let the battle begin!

Argentinians living in Germany are waiting with bated breath for Saturday's match. We have asked some of them how they feel about the clash with Germany at the weekend and all of them seem to have high hopes.

Joachim Loew and Diego Maradona

German coach Joachim Loew and Maradona expect a tough match on Saturday

Antonio Bucak moved to Hamburg from Argentina 24 years ago to open an Argentinian cafe called 'Buenos Aires'. He is sure that his guests can expect a nail-biting match on Saturday. "I'm looking forward to plenty of German and Argentinian fans, who will come here to watch the game on Saturday," he says.

Needless to say, Antonio put both national flags in the window of his cafe straight after Argentina beat Mexico. He has put up several large flat-screen televisions so that his guests can enjoy the match. When it comes to football, Argentinians are a proud nation, and they show their support by displaying flags, jerseys and other paraphernalia.

Argentinian fans at the Buenos Aires will be watching the match while enjoying tasty sausages, empanadas - an Argentinian meat-filled pastry - and a glass of Quilmes beer to feel that little bit closer to home.

"(Head Coach Diego) Maradona has given our team a lot of self-confidence and his outstanding talent when he was a player makes us particularly proud. I wanted Germany to beat England, because we still have a bone to pick with Germany and we want to show what we can do," Antonio says.

"If we don't go to penalties, Argentina can beat Germany this time and then there'll be singing and dancing into the small hours."

Community spirit

Antonio points out that it is important that Germans and Argentinians show community spirit. No matter who wins on Saturday, fairness is the top priority.

Many of his German guests have a personal relationship with Argentina. "We get a lot of Germans who have lived in Argentina for a while or German-Argentinian couples who enjoy the atmosphere here," Antonio says.

One of those is Oliver Pieper, whose wife is Argentinian. He met her during a six-month stay in Cordoba and shortly afterwards, she moved to Germany to be with him.

Now they have three children, all of whom are football enthusiasts, he says. The two older kids have mostly German friends and tend to support Germany, but his younger daughter Celeste, who is in Argentina with her mother at the moment, is undecided.

"Of course our Argentinian relatives have done their utmost to convince our youngest daughter to support Argentina, plying her with plenty of sweets," Pieper says jokingly.

Four years ago, he bravely donned the blue and white jersey to show solidarity with his wife, but this time he may just keep it hidden away. If all of his South American relatives turn out to be wrong and Germany win against Argentina on Saturday, Pieper says he will play "Don't cry for me Argentina" and call his wife when the match is over.

Vamos a ganar

In the Malfitani household, however, Guillermo and his German wife are dancing to a different tune. They have been watching every Argentina game in the 'Cafe Sur,' Cologne's No. 1 watering hole for Argentinians.

Guillermo Malfitani

Guillermo will be cheering on Argentina in Cologne's Cafe Sur

Guillermo is looking forward to singing with fellow Argentinians: "Vamos, vamos Argentina, vamos, vamos a ganar" ("Let's go, let's go Argentina, we're going to win") he chants enthusiastically.

"We all stick together and, of course, we are very nervous. I have my flag, a vuvuzela and my freshly washed jersey, all ready to go. I can't wait for our chance to get back at the Germans for 2006," he says.

His German friends keep teasing him about Argentina's tragic defeat in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2006. But Guillermo counters that, back then, Maradona did not have his famous hand in the national team's fortunes.

"He is a diva, but no other coach can use his enthusiasm and emotions for the game to motivate his players quite like Diego," he insists.

Malfitani believes it will be a very difficult match, because neither team is in the mood to give anything away. Argentina is not invincible and the German side with its young players is an extremely motivated opponent. But, in the end, Guillermo says, it will be "Don't cry for me Germany."

Author: Steffi Waldschmidt (ng)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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