Germany's World Cup-winning team returned home to celebrate the country's fourth title with huge crowds of fans.

The team's plane touched down at Berlin's Tegel Airport midmorning after circling the "fan mile"' in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate.

Captain Philipp Lahm carried the trophy off the aircraft to cheers and a chorus of "Football's Coming Home'' from fans gathered on the airport's viewing terrace.

He was followed by midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, draped in a German flag and sporting a bandage under his right eye, the result of a cut in the 1-0 win over Argentina in the final on Sunday.

From the airport, the team set off for downtown Berlin in a bus painted with the years of Germany's World Cup victories: The previous occasions were in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

They were to make the last part of the trip to the Brandenburg Gate on an open truck. The "fan mile'' started filling up hours before the arrival, with some waiting overnight to get a place at the front.

"We're all excited to see what it will be like,'' Schweinsteiger told ARD television. "This time, thank God, we have the cup with us. It will only sink in for us in the next few days.''

The team's plane was about an hour behind schedule, its departure from Rio de Janeiro delayed after a luggage truck hit the aircraft and damage to the paintwork had to be inspected.

Source: Reuters