A Love for Germany
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
As Weibo’s flag feature showed, Chinese netizens supported Germany more than any other national team in the World Cup. Earlier this year, a survey conducted by Coventry University proved these exact results – the Chinese are big Germany fans. Part of the Chinese infatuation is out of necessity. China has only made it into one World Cup, in 2002, and needs another team to cheer on for the tournament. Yet it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why fans take to Germany and its players more, when the English Premier League is still the favorite league to watch and support, and the top three most popular players on Weibo are Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar.
Part of the reason may be due to Germany’s success on the pitch. Germany is a team that consistently makes it to the last rounds of championships. China has an affinity for winners, and football is no exception. Fans can rely on Germany’s solid performance from all the players, not just a few solo stars. Although teammates such as Ozil stand out, social media has shown a wide interest in Germany as a whole, including following Bundesliga teams as well. Below we have Youku’s top videos and their views for some Germany players. Note that Robben may have played for the Netherlands, but is still a Bundesliga star!
Top 5 goals Mueller: 52,976
Top 5 goals Klose: 13,675
Top 5 goals Robben: 12,610
Top 10 goals Bundesliga World Cup stars: 5701
Top 10 goals Mueller family: 2643
Top 5 goals Ozil: 2018
Top 5 goals Schuerler: 1289
Top 5 goals Mertesacker: 1083
Top 5 goals Kroos: 843
Top 5 goals Schweinsteiger: 700
Other theories include team loyalty. As with many other sports teams, loyalties can be passed down in families, creating fans who have been devoted to Germany all their lives. Another reason could be, perhaps, the ladies’ attraction to German players. But a major advancement is social media.
With the prevalence of social media, fans are more vocal and seen throughout the internet. The German team supporters have reached a critical mass; the die-hard fans with their excitement and events can easily draw in World Cup viewers who were on-the-fence or ambivalent about who to root for, letting them partake in the festivities with a team to support. The Weibo flag showed the huge numbers of people supporting Germany, making it easy to join the masses and cheer the nation on. And the internet memes and comments are only helped by the fact that Germany actually has a Weibo page, which Mailman pointed out was unfortunately the anomaly amongst World Cup teams. Having a web presence on Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat no doubt make the German team more accessible and, thus, easier to support and connect with. Below is a post from the official Bundesliga Weibo, saying, “A great leader does not just win games, but also respects opponents. @FCBMunich Lahm is a true captain of the German team. Thank you Brazil!” and was a hit among netizens, showing their appreciation for sportsmanship from the German team as well.
Everyone may have different reasons for being a fan of the German national team. Regardless of the reason, it is clear Chinese netizens and Chinese people overall root for Germany more than other countries in the World Cup, and take to social media to demonstrate their devotion.