German chancellor Merkel to visit team as fan

BERLIN - German chancellor Angela Merkel will pay a private visit to the national team on Monday as they prepare for the World Cup in South Africa next month, the team said on Friday.

Merkel, who cheered on Germany during several matches at the 2006 World Cup on home soil and at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, will have dinner with the players and the coaching staff at their northern Italian training base.

"This is a great honour for all of us," said Germany coach Joachim Loew. This shows the position of the national team and underlines the importance of the World Cup.

Germany have been drawn with Australia, Ghana and Serbia in Group D.

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