Mareike Fuerst had Argentina’s colors painted on one cheek, Germany’s on the other, and was draped in her home country’s flag — but planned to stash it beneath her Lionel Messi jersey for the trip home.
The 19-year-old teacher was one of scores of Germans living in Argentina who descended on La Muzza Inspiradora, a dive bar and pizzeria in Buenos Aires that threw a Germany-themed party for Sunday’s World Cup final.
The crowd inside exploded into a deafening celebration when Mario Goetze scored the extra-time goal that made Germany the new world champions, drenching each other in beer, lifting each other on their shoulders and violently swinging the small bar’s hanging light fixtures.
But they had to hold their joy inside once out on the street, where some briefly got into a scuffle with furious Argentine fans until the dozens of police posted outside the bar broke them up.
“I’m a little bit afraid. That’s why I put my Argentina shirt on, which I bought today,” said Fuerst, who moved to the Argentine capital a year ago to teach German lessons.
She was at the bar with her Argentine boyfriend, who had left in disgust.
“Ugh,” she said when asked how he was taking Argentina’s 1-0 loss. “We’re probably not going to talk to each other for about a day. But it will be fine.”
The bar became known as the top spot for German expatriates to watch the World Cup by hiring German caterer Michael Schnirch to serve up bratwurst, schweinebraten, currywurst and hand-twisted pretzels.
Schnirch, who moved to Buenos Aires nine years ago after falling in love with an Argentine woman he met on a beach in Chile — now his wife –launched his career as a caterer in an effort to bring a little of his native Bavaria to Argentina.
“I missed German sausages, so I decided to start making them myself –first for events and for the embassy, and then for restaurants,” the 35-year-old said.
Singing “Deutschland!” and wearing the jerseys of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Andre Schuerrle, around 100 Germans began descending on the bar hours before the match.
Lifting glasses of Quilmes, the ubiquitous Argentine beer, they made cheery toasts of “Prost!” and gathered around the small bar’s five TVs to watch the game.
The bar tried to strike a neutral tone, putting up balloons in Argentina’s sky blue and white along with streamers in the yellow, red and black of the German flag.
But the clients, many of whom were already several beers into the party by the time the match began, exuberantly popped the balloons.
By halftime, the bar was out of beer, its more than 100 liters (26 gallons) of stock too little for the thirsty German fans. Ambassador Bernhard Graf von Waldersee was among those in the crowd.
“It was extremely exciting to be in Argentina at the moment when my home country and my host country faced each other in the World Cup final in Brazil,” he said outside the bar after the match. “It was a great game.”
That was all he had time to say before about two dozen rowdy Argentine fans started moving toward the bar and his security detail whisked him away in a waiting car.
“Sons of bitches!” a woman shouted at the top of her lungs in Spanish as a brief fight broke out between the Argentines and Germans before police dragged them apart.
The atmosphere soon calmed, and the Argentines dispersed as police closed off the street.
Argentina has had a close relationship with Germany for much of its history.
It was a top destination for German migrants during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the young South American nation had one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Long-time President Juan Domingo Peron, the towering figure of 20th-century Argentina, was close with German leaders and during World War II remained neutral until the conflict was nearly finished.
After the war, the country developed a reputation as a haven for Nazi fugitives, including Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele.
But the vast majority of Argentines with German roots are the descendants of ordinary immigrants who moved to the new world in search of opportunity.
Along with Italian descendants, the children of these immigrants today make up one of the country’s main demographic groups.
But when it comes to football, the relationship is a bitter rivalry –especially for Argentina, which has now lost its last two World Cup finals to Germany.