About five minutes before kickoff, singer and songwriter Gregor Hagale led the passionate Germans in their national anthem.
Later in the game, fans switched cultures and languages to sing American songs. In the fourth quarter, they belted out “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and they ended the game with “Sweet Caroline.”
These songs, which can usually be heard at West Virginia University or Boston Red Sox games, resonated across Deutsche Bank Stadium during the first-ever regular season game in Frankfurt between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.
“I thought it was cool with their chants to some of the songs, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said. “It was nice. I appreciated playing here.”
A crowd of 50,023 came to watch the defending champion Chiefs (7-2) defeat the Dolphins (6-3), 21-14.
Dolphins Fall Short at the End
Down seven points with two minutes remaining, the Dolphins entered Kansas City territory needing a touchdown to tie the game. Tagovailoa, who finished the game with 193 yards and one passing touchdown, had receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. open with the endzone in sight on third down.
However, the Dolphins quarterback severely underthrew his wide receiver, in what Tagovailoa said after the game was a miscommunication.
“What happened between me and Ced, that was miscommunication,” Tagovailoa said. “In big-time moments, those things like that can’t happen. I’ve got to throw a better ball.”
On fourth down, the ball was snapped slightly to the right of Tagovailoa, and he could not handle it. The forced turnover helped the Chiefs survive with the seven-point win.
Chiefs Take Control Early
This second-ever NFL game in Germany was a tale of two halves. The Chiefs opened the scoring early after quarterback Patrick Mahomes found Rashee Rice on a screen pass. Rice took it into the endzone for an 11-yard touchdown.
Kansas City found the endzone again with a little over four minutes to go in the first half. Mahomes led a 13-play, 95-yard drive, and hit Jerick McKinnon in the middle of the field for a 17-yard touchdown, extending their lead to 14-0 with 2:32 to go.
Miami wanted to score before the half to start the third quarter with the ball.
With a little over 30 seconds on the clock, Tagovailoa threw a short screen pass to Tyreek Hill. The receiver was quickly smothered by Chiefs defenders and fumbled. The ball was recovered by Trent McDuffie, who ended up lateraling it to Bryan Cook, who took it 59 yards to the endzone, putting the Chiefs ahead 21-0.
“There was a guy that was unblocked, and he came free as soon as I caught it, and I didn’t even get a chance to make a move,” Hill said. “They did a good job.”
Dolphins Turn Up in Second Half, Not Enough
Despite their first-half struggles, the Dolphins never quit. A switch turned on in the second half on both sides of the ball. The defense halted the Chiefs from getting into the endzone in the half, allowing the offense to get back into the game.
“I thought they had a very good plan,” Miami head coach Mike McDaniel said. “I was very, very proud – just we approached the game as a team, ready for the Super Bowl champions.”
Miami’s first score came after Tagovailoa found Wilson Jr. for a 31-yard touchdown with 4:47 to go in the third quarter.
After Bradley Chubb forced a Mahomes fumble, the momentum shifted heavily in favor of the Dolphins. On the ensuing drive, running back Raheem Mostert took a toss into the endzone, cutting Miami’s deficit to 21-14.
The Dolphins’ comeback was short, though, despite a strong defensive effort and the chance to tie the game on the final drive.
“These are hard lessons,” McDaniel said. “But they’re real in the NFL, and you have to be able to take in the pain and push it towards future joy if you’re trying to be worth anything.”
NFL in Germany Excitement Continues
In an exciting game to open the Frankfurt games, a passion and interest in the sport was evident among Germans. The crowd was energetic, and fans erupted on every scoring play, even though cheers were louder when Kansas City found success.
Mostert, who finished with 85 yards on the ground and the touchdown, said this game was an experience he’ll never forget.
“This week was very special,” he said. “Frankfurt is always going to be a place that I’m going to look back and call home. I’m definitely going to be coming back with my family a little bit more.”
The German city is now shifting its focus to its second game, between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots on Nov. 12. Patriots fans traveling from New England may hear a familiar tune, this time sung by Germans.