Germany's World Cup heroes are flying home for a grand reception in Berlin, albeit a little late. The plane was halted for two hours on the tarmac in Brazil after suspected damage to the aircraft's protective lacquering.
The victorious German national football team and its entourage met with a rare snag on their home from Brazil on Monday evening.
Players, staff and family members had to wait an extra two hours to take off from Rio de Janeiro after the plane fuselage lacquering was scratched during loading. Technical experts were called in to examine the damage, with the plane finally pronounced fit to fly.
The delay didn't appear to affect the mood of dressing room joker Lukas Podolski, who tweeted a selfie from the cockpit wearing a pilot's cap.
The plane, Lufthansa Flight 2014, was due to touch down at Berlin's Tegel Airport between 10 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. local time.
After that, the team can expect a rousing reception from fans along Berlin's Fan Mile, where tens of thousands of fans were expected to celebrate Germany's fourth lifting of the World Cup - and its first since reunification. Germany supporters will get a chance to see more of the team when they appear on a specially-constructed platform by the Brandenburg Gate.
Germany's Finance Ministry has said it will this week issue a special "Germany World Cup champion" postage stamp. Indeed, officials were so confident of victory that five million were said to have been printed ahead of the final.
"We always firmly believed the German team would win," a ministry spokeswoman said on Monday.
The German media on Monday showered Joachim Löw's side with praise for after their 1-0 extra time win against Argentina, in particular winning goal scorer "Super Mario" Götze. The player wasn't even born when Germany last won in 1990, having also defeated Argentina 1-0 in the final.
rc/tj (SID, dpa)