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German fans dance to the tune of the ‘saxophone guy’

By AFP - Jul 02,2024 - Last updated at Jul 02,2024

German saxophonist Andre Schnura performs for Germany supporters on Saturday (AFP photo)

DORTMUND, Germany — While Germany sometimes struggled on the pitch at Euro 2024, a previously unknown saxophonist in a retro shirt has had more success at delighting fans and uniting the country.

Andre Schnura has become the breakout star of the competition on social media, getting fans jumping across Germany’s host cities for the tournament.

His latest performance in front of his newly adoring public came in the Dortmund fanzone ahead of Germany’s first knockout game against Denmark on Saturday evening.

Little over two weeks ago, 30-something Schnura was a gigging saxophonist and music teacher of little or no renown.

After losing his main job at a music school where he had been giving lessons for the past six years, he decided to pick up his saxophone and follow the football around Germany.

Schnura’s interpretations of the greatest hits of the football songbook include “Freed from Desire”, “Samba de Janeiro” and “Major Tom”, a German 80s classic which has become an anthem for supporters.

Dressed in a retro Rudi Voeller kit and sunglasses, Schnura has racked up hundreds of thousands of views on social media and become an instantly recognisable character at the tournament.

“I am completely overwhelmed and infinitely grateful for what is happening right now,” Schnura wrote on Instagram after a week of high-energy performances.

Hopeful message

The “saxophone guy”, as Schnura even calls himself, has used his platform to carry a message, too.

“I want to use my five minutes of fame to remind you of something important. All eyes are still on me, but it won’t always stay that way,” Schnura said.

“We all have worries, fears and insecurities... But we all long for peace, security and love. Simply, we are all the same. I want to remind you to love and forgive one another,” he said.

The saxophonist’s message of hope has resonated with fans, many of whom have followed his performances live online.

“I think I speak for everyone when I say your vibe is doing great things for Germany and for the Euros,” one user responded.

Another said Schnura was “saving Germany with a saxophone”.

Germany may have qualified for its first quarter final in eight years, bringing some positivity back to the team, but the mood in the country is dour between a sluggish economy and an ill-tempered political debate.

The saxophone guy has not gone unnoticed by the German football association or the tournament organisers UEFA, who have both broadcast videos of Schnura.

The musician has caught the attention of the players in the changing room, too. Gap-toothed striker and German cult icon in his own right, Niclas Fuellkrug said Schnura was “very cool”.

“Super job, Andre! Thank you for your support!” said veteran teammate Thomas Mueller.

Schnura has turned down requests for interviews, saying his “music speaks for itself”.

A petition has been started online for Schnura to appear at the final in Berlin on July 14. The musician himself has announced a tour in the autumn with seven dates called “love is the answer”.

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