West Ham United's pre-season visit to Germany has caused a flurry of excitement throughout the country.

Hundreds of German-based supporters are expected to join the travelling Claret and Blue Army at fixtures at Rot-Weiss Erfurt, Dynamo Dresden and Energie Cottbus. Indeed, the Dresden fixture at the Glucksgas Arena on Friday 27 July is a 33,000 sellout!

The Sauerland Hammers are just one of a number of European-based Supporters' Clubs who will be attending that fixture, so whufc.com caught up with club chairman Thomas Tigges to find out what all the fuss is about.

Formed in 2003, the Sauerland Hammers are based 45 miles from the city of Cologne, with members making regular trips to east London and further afield for home and away fixtures.

What is your reaction to the news that West Ham United will be coming to Germany next week?

TT - "Our joy is really huge. We are all so happy about the trip to Germany. Hopefully we can watch one or two matches in Germany with the members of our Supporters' Club. It is great that we can drive to the matches by car this time. To watch the Hammers at Upton Park and away in England we have to undertake a lot of effort - we have to take flights to England and after that we take buses and taxis. But all this trouble is worth it if we can watch the Hammers."

How many Germany-based West Ham United supporters do you expect to attend the matches at Dynamo Dresden, Energie Cottbus and Rot-Weiss Erfurt?

TT - "I don't know how many German-based supporters will come to the matches, but I think the supporters who really love West Ham will do nearly everything to see the team. We are a small group of club members who regularly visit matches."

When did the Sauerland Hammers last visit the Boleyn Ground to watch a match?

TT - "Our last home match was on 10 March against Doncaster Rovers. For sure we watch all of the other matches on TV.

Did many fans get together to watch the Championship Play-Off final at Wembley?

TT - "We watched the Play-Off final together at home on TV and I heard from some friends that they were at Wembley that day and they met 10-12 supporters, but probably I think there were a few more German-based fans there."

What are your expectations for the 2012/13 season in the Premier League?

TT - "We'll try to visit three or four matches like we did every season. For the Hammers, we hope that it's going to be a great season. Big Sam gives us consistency and stability and hopefully we can continue this success during the upcoming season and finish between eighth and 12th in the table."

Which West Ham United players are the most popular in Germany and why?

Carlton Cole is the most popular player in Germany, because he plays for England. Also club captain Kevin Nolan is popular, because he scored many goals as a midfield player at Newcastle and now at West Ham. Mark Noble, James Tomkins and Jack Collison are former Academy Players and the Academy is very famous because of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson, Rio Ferdinand and many others. The Academy is the 'West Ham Way' and Noble, Tomkins and Collison are West Ham. Football supporters also know Guy Demel because he played for Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg in the German Bundesliga. And at least Germany will never forget West Ham's Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Bobby Moore, because they won with England in 1966 the World Cup final against Germany. Especially the so-called 'Wembley goal' from Geoff Hurst is still unforgettable!"

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