Germany's embattled national team braced for a cold homecoming Thursday after their shock World Cup exit plunged the football-mad nation into mourning and left the future of coach Joachim Loew in the balance.
The four-time champions were set to land at Frankfurt airport at around 2:20 pm (1220 GMT), a day after their humiliating 2-0 defeat against South Korea at Russia's Kazan Arena sent them packing.
In a mea culpa on their official Twitter account, the German Mannschaft apologised to a country in agony.
"Dear fans, we're just as disappointed as you," the tweet read.
"We're sorry we didn't play like world champions. That's why we deserved to be eliminated, as bitter as it is."
Defender Mats Hummels had earlier also tweeted out his regrets with a succinct "sorry..." and a crying-face emoji.
German media have given a damaging verdict of the titleholders' World Cup campaign, which will be remembered as the first time since 1938 that the country has failed to make it past the first round.
"No words!" chided the best-selling Bild daily, over a picture of a despondent-looking Toni Kroos.
The headline mirrors the one used four years ago after Germany's stunning 7-1 victory over Brazil at the last World Cup -- but this time the nation has been left speechless out of sheer disbelief.
Anger was mounting too after a weak performance in Russia that has left commentators calling for radical changes in German football.
"Our elimination is fully deserved," Bild wrote, lamenting the "shame" of the defending champions getting knocked out after just 10 days, "reduced to ashes and rubble".
Other newspapers, like the Rheinische Post and the Tagesspiegel, simply went with the headline "Out", while the Stuttgarter Zeitung spoke of a "historic debacle".