Coach's lucky sweater sold out
Berlin - Football-mad Germans have snapped up the "lucky" blue cashmere sweater that German coach Joachim Loew gives partial credit for his side's World Cup winning streak, a retail chain said on Tuesday.
The jumpers have flown off the shelves, upscale clothier Strenesse said, with fans having to travel to the neighbouring Netherlands, home of the Germans' fellow semi-finalists, to get their hands on the talisman Loew has worn at three German victories.
"We're completely out of stock," a company spokesperson told AFP.
The 50-year-old's backroom staff have demanded Loew wear the cobalt cashmere in the semi-final against Spain on Wednesday, as he has every time Germany have scored four goals in a match at the finals in wintry South Africa.
Loew, who replaced Jurgen Klinsmann after the 2006 finals, donned the v-neck in the opening 4-0 humbling of Australia, the 4-1 destruction of old foes England and then the 4-0 humiliation of Argentina Saturday - the first time that a team has scored four goals three times in the finals.
He told reporters that "Germany's miraculous sweater", as the daily Bild has dubbed it, might just have magic powers.
"I am not really superstitious but (deputy coach) Hansi Flick and others basically forced me to put it back on - it gave us four goals at each of the matches," the dapper trainer said.
"There's no way I'm changing my sweater, or even washing it."
Despite sweltering temperatures in much of Germany, shoppers cannot get enough of the
€199 sweater in "Jogi" blue.
Those willing to sacrifice authenticity for comfort can purchase cotton or mixed-blend lookalikes, Strenesse said.
Meanwhile desperate fans in Berlin were coveting the Jogi look.
"I wanted one for my dad - he would have been so happy," 26-year-old Anna Gruber said as she surveyed an empty shelf at Strenesse.
"He already has the Jogi shirt."
During the European Championships in 2008, the trim Loew wore a snugly tailored white button-down that also became an iconic fashion statement.
Then the Germans made it to the final, before losing to Spain.