(Left to right) Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Mueller with migrant children (in red) prior to a Bundesliga match.
Berlin - Germany is struggling to cope with a record number of refugees and economic migrants which Berlin expects will quadruple to around 800,000.
Top European soccer clubs and many federations have leapt into action to help migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, pledging contributions in cash and kind as tens of thousands of people fleeing from conflict, repression and economic misery flood into the continent.
Germany looks to be leading the way - as it is in the European political realm - with clubs from professional to amateur level as well as the national association DFB raising cash and donating equipment. Some have offered German language classes and distributed tickets among migrants.
"I feel I have to show my support, I feel that I must do that and that it must be visible," said Hertha Berlin fan Klaus Mueller, carrying a "Refugees welcome" banner as he walked towards Berlin's Olympic stadium for the game against VfB Stuttgart on Saturday. Mueller's support for migrants who have poured into Europe in recent months reflects the outpouring of sympathy and generosity in the country, spurred by reports of fatal shipwrecks, suffering and desperate conditions on the road.
Germany is struggling to cope with a record number of refugees and economic migrants which Berlin expects will quadruple to around 800,000.
About 1,000 migrants joined Mueller and 44,000 other Berliners in the stands at the Olympic stadium on Saturday, invited by Hertha, and many more in other professional and amateur clubs across the country. "Our club is multi-cultural, colourful and integrative. It was clear that Hertha would help. We want to welcome our new neighbours among us," Hertha CEO Michael Preetz said when he visited the Horst-Korber centre, which is housing about 1,000 migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Right around the corner of the Olympic stadium live children, families, men and women who had a terrible time with suffering and danger. Maybe we as Hertha could play our small part in giving them the chance for a couple of hours to forget their worries." At Bayern Munich's home game against Augsburg, migrant children marched onto the pitch with the players in front of 75,000 fans at the Allianz Arena. Munich's train station has become the biggest gateway for migrants as they cross into Germany from Hungary via Austria.