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By Rune Gjerulff@runegjerulff

Gündogan pens emotional letter to German people ahead of Euro 2024 opener

Ahead of Friday night's Euro 2024 opener, Ilkay Gündogan has penned an inspirational letter to German fans.

There will be a lot of pressure on the German national team when they kick off Euro 2024 on home soil against Scotland in Munich on Friday night.

Ahead of the game, Germany captain Ilkay Gündogan has released an emotional statement to the German fans via Bild.

Here's the full translation:

"Dear fans,

Tonight's kick-off at 9 p.m. is more than just a dream come true for me: leading my own national team onto the pitch as captain in a home tournament - just the thought of it gives me goosebumps.

Just as our path as a team has been rocky and full of setbacks over the past few years, I too can look back on a complicated career in a DFB jersey. This makes me all the more proud to be the first captain with an migration background to lead Germany onto the pitch at a major tournament.

I am able to lead a team that is special because it is shaped by so many different cultures and countries. These are the factors that will make us strong as the German national team in 2024: diversity and the influence of different cultures.

What we have learned and experienced in the past is that football has the power to bring people together. We live in times in which fronts are being built up more and more. Where people do not listen to each other. There is a division in our society. As a team, we want to bring our country closer together over the next four weeks. To create more cohesion. So that the people can be proud of their national team - and still be open, respectful and friendly to the millions of guests who will be visiting our beautiful country over the next few weeks.

We want to be European champions. But even if we don't win the title in the end, it can still be a good tournament. Just like in 2006, when as a 15-year-old I was allowed to attend the atmospheric fan festivals. We celebrated a summer fairy tale, even though we "only" finished third.

We have to say clearly that some teams are a bit more stable and well-rehearsed than us. But with the fantastic support of our fans, we can go a long way.

We can win this European Championship on so many levels. As good hosts, as a cosmopolitan society. And, hopefully, on the pitch. Please help us make our dream come true TOGETHER!"

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