Home fans anxious to see if Germany can fire up Euro 2024 in opener against Scotland


The sound of bagpipes, and men in kilts on the streets of Munich — Scotland is in town and the excitement is ramping up ahead of the European Championship curtainraiser on Friday.

Host nation Germany plays Scotland at Allianz Arena in the opener of the month-long tournament.

The final is in Berlin on July 14 and Germany is even keener to get there after three straight fiascos at major tournaments that has forced its fans to readjust their expectations of the men's national team.

"We are not here just to say hello but we still have to be humble," Germany defender Antonio Rüdiger said. "We don't have to talk about past tournaments, we all know what happened there.

"It's been up and down for us all the way here and that's why we have to be humble. The first match is very important and then we'll see what happens during the rest of the tournament."

A good first match and group stage would set off a new wave of excitement in Germany, even though scenes similar to when it brilliantly hosted the 2006 World Cup (and reached the semifinals) are hard to imagine in a changed political landscape.

While the Scots are out in droves in Munich, proudly wearing their team jerseys (many combined with kilts), there is hardly a sighting of a Germany shirt or flag. Political extremists are flourishing, anxiety pervades the country, and the national team has under-performed. It is understandable the home fans are going about their daily life in contrast to the partying visitors.

While the Germans are bemused by their raucous Scottish counterparts, there should still be plenty of more colors on matchday.

"First and foremost, there's a lot of anticipation because it's a huge event," Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said. "It's probably not just Europe, but the whole world that will be watching how the Euros will go ... we're really looking forward to it."

Germany went out at the group stage of both previous World Cups and was eliminated by England in the round of 16 at Euro 2021. But defeat to Scotland would be a shock, even though the Scots have improved a lot in recent years.

"It's going to be an amazing experience … being part of that kind of opening ceremony," Scotland forward Ryan Christie said when asked about playing the opening match.

"Germany, an amazing team. All the international teams go through peaks and drops in form. But when these big tournaments come up, the big teams normally show up most of the time. So it will be a really tough game."

Hungary and Switzerland are also in Group A.

Having failed to reach the Euros from 2000-16, Scotland has qualified for back-to-back tournaments and the next aim is to reach the knockout stage for the first time.

"That's the dream," Christie said. "To everyone around Scotland, it would mean the world, a massive kind of footballing country. If we come out of the group stages, that's the furthest Scotland will have ever been in a major tournament.

"So, you know, it puts us down in history as the most successful Scottish team ever, and that's the kind of motivation right there. We've got a huge belief in ourselves, with this squad of players, that we can really do a lot of damage to other teams and hopefully do well when we go to these big tournaments."

Scotland showed during the qualifying campaign it can surprise, in beating Spain and Norway.

However, Scotland has won only one of its last 13 matches against Germany and that was more than 25 years ago, 1-0 in a friendly in April 1999.

Plus, Germany has another, rather more unusual motivation to win the trophy on its own turf.

Deniz Undav has said he will shave the head of fellow Germany forward Thomas Müller if the team becomes European champion.

"Thomas Müller bald? Then we have to do everything we can to make this happen. I don't think he will look so beautiful with a shaved head," defender Rüdiger said with a laugh.

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