Sun, Jun 11, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Taipei's Germany fans exult with Brazil spy

By Michael Costello  /  STAFF REPORTER

There was standing room only after about 200 mostly German fans squeezed their way into Wendel's German Bakery and Bistro on a rainy Friday evening in Tianmu (天母).

The Erdinger and Warsteiner was flowing freely and owner and third-generation master baker Michael Wendel -- wearing a Team Deutschland shirt with the number 13 in honor of injured captain Michael Ballack -- was kept busy behind the bar.

But he did have enough time to tell me that everything was "very good."

And as the evening wore on and the beer kept flowing, it was hard to disagree with him -- even if you were Brazilian. Ricardo De Flor from the Brazil Business Center, Brazil's representative office, told me he was happy to support Germany for now.

"We'll beat them in the final," he said. "I just came for the atmosphere."

"We are going to win again," he continued. "Let's see the Germans."

And atmosphere there was aplenty, as hosts Germany opened the scoring early in an exciting and free-flowing game. Philip Lahm got the first within six minutes, prompting wild celebrations and horn-blowing throughout Germany -- and Wendel's.

But it only took six minutes for the Costa Ricans to equalize through Paulo Wanchope. Germany fan Thomas Werner was unfazed as he sought the attention of the bar staff.

"I'm not worried. I'm sure Germany will win," he said. "Anyway, it doesn't matter -- it's the group stages," he said with typical Teutonic pragmatism.

Werner's faith was vindicated just five minutes later as seasoned striker Miroslav Klose restored his team's lead after a cross from the indecently named Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Another fan said he was enjoying the game put probably wouldn't make it to many others because of the late kickoff times.

"I work," he said.

Klose, Wanchope and German forward Lukas Podolski all threatened, but there was no further score in the first half. During the interval I caught up with Winnie Wu, Stefanie Arendt and Karsten Adam. All were behind the home team and were happy with the half-time score.

"It'll be higher," Arendt assured me, adding she popped in at the bistro "at least once a week."

Arendt was right, but it wasn't until the 61st minute that birthday boy Klose got his second. But the "Ticos" weren't going to lie down, and Wanchope pulled one back by beating Jens Lehmann for a second time, prompting Werner to concede Germany's defense was weak.

"We need [benched goalkeeper Oliver] Kahn," he said.

But Werner needn't have worried, because Torsten Frings put the result beyond doubt with minutes to go.

When I caught up with Wendel again he told me that although he normally closed at 11pm, he was going to stay open for the Poland-Ecuador match at 3am.

"Good for business," I suggested.

"Yes, I hope so," he replied.

But perhaps the evening was best summed up by a 12-year-old Israeli who said he didn't support any team.

"It was cool," he said.

And so it was.

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