The German team has concluded the group stage of the World Cup at the top of Group G. But the country's authorities are aiming to calm down the football fever, handing out huge fines to loud fans and warning that flag face paint might cause cancer.
Since the country united West and East Germany for the 1990 World Cup – which it won – it has become the new superpower team, with millions of supporters around the globe. Despite making at least the quarterfinals in all of the subsequent World Cups, it has not won the football championship since – but its fans always hope for the top prize, and provide all kinds of cheer and support to their favorite players.
While the team has so far advanced to round 16 of the tournament, German authorities seem to be a fly in the ointment of the fans' joy.
A group of fans in Berlin could be fined up to 250,000 euros (around US$340,000) or go to jail after losing a case regarding a neighborhood dispute, Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Friday.
The case was launched after the loud fans' neighbor took the group to court after they repeatedly shouted the name of German midfielder Mario Götze after he scored against Ghana on June 21.
After toasting a few beers to Germany, the fans reportedly loudly sang on a terrace. But those days are now over; the group has been forbidden from singing and shouting outside the apartment.
The court also ordered the men to keep their windows and doors closed after 10 p.m. during the German national team's matches.
Classified in the category of neighborhood disputes, the order was based on a six-page summary of events.
During the World Cup, most neighbors turn a blind eye to noise regulations, although the night noise rules are the same as usual, forbidding loud private parties after 10 p.m.
In general, German regulatory agencies have reported only a slight increase in complaints during the football championship, the newspaper wrote. When neighbors complain, the police are typically called in to mediate the dispute.
— German Embassy (@GermanyinUSA) June 21, 2014
Another issue for German fans is face paint. The Consumer Protection Ministry in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg said it would expand its investigation into flag-colored make-up sticks, The Local reported.
Over a dozen products were pulled from store shelves after dangerous chemicals were found in some of them. The three-color make-up sticks tested by the ministry contained banned or undeclared substances.
Investigators said they found "pigment red" in nine of the samples – a substance banned for use in cosmetic products since 1993, over fears of causing cancer.
Many face paint products also lacked an expiration date or information about the producer.
Without those make-up sticks, fans may have to think of other creative ways to show their support in photos and selfies posted on social media.
Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the World Cup social media trend, visiting Germany's locker room after the game with Portugal on June 16, when Germany famously scored 4-0.
Glückwunsch - perfekter Einstieg ins Turnier! pic.twitter.com/quPPoQiBVq
— Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) June 16, 2014
Before the warning against flag-colored make-up sticks was released by the German ministry, the country was involved in another face-painting scandal.
Photographs of men – apparently German fans – wearing black face make-up at Germany’s match against Ghana circulated on the internet.
Taken as a discriminatory message, FIFA was investigating the matter earlier in the week, saying its disciplinary committee was considering opening a case.
Germany's next match will take place against Algeria on July 1 in Brazil's Porto Alegre.