First there was blood, then there was blood and last there was a handshake. I learned the other day France would no longer comemmorate 11 November as the day of the win over German forces in 1918 but as a celebration of the French-German friendship. Countless memories came to my diehard sport fan mind.
That year when a 22 year-old Jan Ullrich killed über popular Richard Virenque’s hopes to win le Tour de France in Andorra or when 400 metres queen Marie-José Pérec’s main rival was a certain Grit Breuer (who would later fail a doping test). I could name the recent rivalry between the two handball national teams that started with a controversial one goal Germany win at home during the 2007 World Championships and stopped a year later with a 10 goal rally by les Bleus at the European Championships. But obviously the one memory that stands out is this.
The story of France and Germany is of two potent neighbours and I don’t know why I need to come up with a Ned Flanders – Homer Simpson comparison. Truth is from Bixente Lizarazu to Nikola Karabatic and Franck Ribéry or Rudi Völler and Klaus Allofs, a number of French players became absolute stars in Germany and the other way round. Long jump superstar Heike Drechsler even married a French decathlonian…
There’s a song I’ve always liked and that is my personal anthem to the French-German friendship. It is a song by French rock band Noir Désir called “Marlene” as a tribute to German actress, singress, former girlfriend of Jean Gabin and most of all anti-Nazi activist, Marlene Dietrich.