As I’m writing this, the kick-off to the European Football Championship in Germany is only a few days away and by the time you’re reading this, Euro 2024 will still be around, so let’s talk football this month. At least, kind of, because I won’t be talking about the chances of the German team nor those of the English or the Scottish one. Instead, I’ll focus for a moment on the English and Scottish fans travelling to Germany for the tournament. Because according to the great British tabloid press, they will face an array of risks and dangers on their German football adventure.

The English edition of The Sun, for instance, warned England fans looking for somewhere to stay in Frankfurt for the team’s match against Denmark against booking a hotel in the streets around the city’s rail station, labelling the neighbourhood either “zombie land” or “Germany’s most dangerous slum”. Ah, The Sun, such a wonderful way with words. You can always trust them to never ever exaggerate things. I mean, they just wouldn’t, would they?

Meanwhile, the Scottish edition of The Sun has some words of advice as well for fans travelling to Munich for the opening match against Germany. They didn’t make out any slums but instead identified a considerable danger from mosquitoes! 50 different species of “sneaky midges” are said to be rampant in the Bavarian capital, including some with exotic names such as “Asian tiger mosquito” or “Korean bush mosquito”. Allegedly, they are extra sneaky in the Olympic Park, site of an open-air screening for fans without tickets.

And as The Sun is a beacon of serious, fact-founded journalism, they dug up a Dr Alison Blackwell for their article to voice such warnings. Dr Alison happens to be the director of a large British insect repellent company, who might have an interest in as many of her products as possible but let’s not dwell on that for the moment. According to Blackwell, Munich midges are “more sophisticated’” than their Scottish counterparts (love it!). More precisely: “They break the skin like a hypodermic syringe and suck up the blood. It’s not usually until the next day that you know you’ve been bitten.” One dreads to think what those nasty little Bavarian beasts, shame on them, could do to traditionally dressed Sottish fans in kilts exposing sensitive body pants. Again, let’s not dwell on that for now.

But it’s not just tabloids who have provided words of advice around Euro 2024 in Germany. The British government’s warning to travelling fans that German beer is stronger than UK beer also made the headlines. In reaction to that the spokesman of the “Tartan Army” told the German sports news site SPOX that many Scottish football fans have already been to Germany and especially to the Oktoberfest, so “hopefully everyone is aware of the strength of German beer.” Well, despite all these German dangers, I am confident that the English and Scottish fans will survive the country’s “most dangerous slum” and “sneaky midges”. Whether their teams will “survive” their encounters with German footballers … that’s an altogether different matter. Let me just say: Good luck to everyone and may the better team, win!

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Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

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