Half million to watch semi at Brandenburg Gate

Up to half a million football fans are expected to descend on the Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday to watch the Euro 2008 semi-final between Germany and Turkey.

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The clash promises to be a high octane encounter as Berlin possesses one of the largest Turkish communities, 120,000, in a

country where 2.4 million people either is Turkish-born or of Turkish origin.

"This will be football of an Extra Extra Large variety, with a huge party," said Willy Kautsch, one of the organisers of the event.

"We are capable of welcoming 500,000 spectators and that is the number that we are expecting on Wednesday evening for the Turkish match."

The organisers are setting up three giant screens, including one of 80 square metres, believed to be the biggest in Europe.

Should Germany go on to lift the trophy on Sunday - their first piece of silverware since Euro '96 - they will celebrate their victory at the same site - just as they did when they were third in the 2006 World Cup finals.

"Berlin is in our hearts," claimed German coach Joachim Loew last weekend.

Aside from the Berlin arrangements certain German businesses such as Porsche, Opel and Alstom have shortened their employee's hours because of the match.

The Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen, near Stuttgart, have told 1,000 employees that they can leave the factory an hour earlier than usual so that they don't miss the start of the match.

Daimler have given permission to their employees to follow the match at their assembly plant.

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