'It was footballing high art'
Sportfreunde Stiller, pop group
The band first appeared in 1996 under the name Stiller, with Peter Brugger on vocals and guitar, Florian Weber on drums and vocals and Andi Erhard on bass. Andi was later replaced by Rudiger Linhof, who also plays keyboards. The name came from Hans Stiller, the coach of regional football team SV Germering for whom Peter and Florian played for a number of years.
A few years ago, the band were forced to change their name for legal reasons to Sportfreunde Stiller (Stiller sports fans), since there was already a band in Hamburg called Stiller. Their first album So wie einst Real Madrid (roughly translated as It's just like watching Real Madrid') was released in 2000, and was the launch-pad for the band's successful career.
Their single "54, 74, 90, 2006" is their biggest hit to date and made it to number one in the German singles charts. It has also proved very popular with fans from all around the world, who have been belting it out in the various stadiums and FAN FESTS here at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
The band were delighted to chat to FIFAworldcup.com about the performance of their beloved Mannschaft.
Would you call yourselves football fans?
Too right! You won't find many bigger fans than us, and we still play as well. Top that!
Were you very disappointed that Germany didn't make it into the Final or were you just grateful that they got as far as the semi-final?
It was a real body-blow. It cuts you like a knife, makes you feel empty inside. If you're in the semis, you've only got one thing on your mind, making it through to the Final, and you don't sit back and rest on your laurels. It was a bitter pill to swallow with only two minutes to go before penalties. If we'd have got that far, then the more confident of the two teams from the spot would have got through and that would have been Germany.
How do you think Germany played?
They were great, they really did play well. They hit top form just at the right time! They were quick, they were brave and they attacked. It was footballing high art!
Who has impressed you most so far at this FIFA World Cup?
Germany, Côte d'Ivoire and Zidane.
Are you already looking forward to the next FIFA World Cup in South Africa? Can Germany go all the way and win it?
You can't really believe something like that. We obviously hope above all hope that we will take the same excellent form into the next World Cup and that we will be able to make the dream come true. We won't have home advantage though, and things can change quickly in football it'll be our turn again one day, though.
What kind of a host do you think Germany has been?
Top notch. Not only was it safe and secure, but the atmosphere was absolutely great. It's been unbelievable!
Do you think that the FIFA World Cup has helped to create a positive atmosphere in Germany?
Of course it has. We can only hope that people don't take advantage of this. The patriotism that we've seen here was purely sport-based, and because of that, Germany's reputation around the world has drastically improved.
Your song "'54, '74, '90, 2006" has been a huge hit at this tournament. Even fans from abroad have been enthusiastically singing along to it. What does that mean to you?
We still get goose-bumps every time a big group of people sings our song, and it's so funny to see the likes of kids, policemen, punks, old people, Australians or whatever walking by and humming the tune!
Which was the first FIFA World Cup that you really followed?
Passively 1982. For real 1986!
What's the greatest match you've ever seen?
The Germany Argentina Final in 1986. At this World Cup, the quarter-final, again between Germany and Argentina, and the Côte d'Ivoire Holland match.
What are you currently working on?
The album You have to win zweikampf has already been released, and we'll be playing at a couple of festivals. Then we'll be back into rehearsals to work on some new songs. Otherwise, you can buy our book, called You'll never walk alone and published by Verlag Rowohlt. Thanks guys, keep on kicking it!