"We've just vowed we're going to go to London, however we can get there, and even if we have to sleep in the car," said Lukas, a Borussia Dortmund fan celebrating his team's victory along with thousands of other supporters on Alter Markt, the central square of the west German city on Wednesday night.

Among the songs they chanted was "Take off the Bavarians' Lederhosen", a reference to their rivals' traditional tight-fitting leather trousers, as they celebrated their historic win over Real Madrid. Another was "Dortmund boys, Dortmund boys, we're all Dortmund boys". The songs will be heard frequently in Germany over the coming weeks.

While others beyond the country might have been singing the praises of German football for some time, the success that is likely to propel two of its clubs into the Champions League final at Wembley next month has come as something of a surprise to the Germans themselves.

The TV channel N-TV said German football fans were caught up in a Champions League "Rausch" – or frenzy – and showed them dancing on the streets of Dortmund and Munich, saying they were "dreaming of a springtime football fairytale" after what had been a "perfect Spanish football week".

The only bad feelings that threatened to overshadow the mood in Germany, apart from the tax scandal enveloping Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich's president, were those of Dortmund fans angered by Bayern Munich's purchase of Mario Götze. "Now Bayern should bleed in the final in return for stealing Götze from us," one Dortmund fan was quoted as saying, while others were pictured wearing Götze's yellow Dortmund shirt, with his name crossed out and replaced with Judas.

Drooling over the words of a subdued José Mourinho, who admitted that German footballers were at the top of their game, both fans and experts were pausing to take on board the idea that, having picked up certain tactics from their Spanish colleagues, German footballers might have become the sport's new standard bearers, after a week of football which one fanzine said "grandfathers will be telling their grandchildren about for years to come". "Europe is on the verge of a change of power," wrote Jean-Julien Beer, the editor in chief of Kicker.

But many commentators struck a note of Prussian-flavoured caution, saying that, this being football, it was arrogant not to believe there was still some way for both teams to go "via Bernabéu and Camp Nou" before either reached Wembley. Bayern Munich's midfielder Thomas Müller warned: "Football is still football. You saw the Dortmund game. They also scored two goals in the 90th minute. So in theory you could get 180 goals, right?"

Commentators such as Carsten Eberts in the Süddeutsche were asking "how can the new German dominance be explained? The great Spanish powers were not only conquered, they were humiliated, tactically taken apart, flicked away. Everyone had an idea that German football was competent on the international level. But such a display as this?"

But being still sensitive to the idea that Germans who sing their country's praises will not win many friends abroad, Eberts added: "The German football fan can rest assured. The admiration for Germany is even greater elsewhere, in Spain, even Italy and England – precisely those countries which have mastered European football in the past decades".

While revelling in the praise from the UK press – particularly the witty Sun headline "It's four-sprung durch technik" – German football fans were able to take on the chin some of the cheekier comments on Twitter about Germans already having placed their beach towels at Wembley to reserve their seats at what Germans refer to as the "Fussballtempel".

A degree of schadenfreude was felt over grumbles from London that what was supposed to have been a celebration of English football – the 150th anniversary of the FA – would in all probability turn into a festival of German brilliance. "On that very day England is now gearing itself up for 90,000 German guests," remarked a presenter with a smirk on the N-TV channel. Jokes about the longest penalty shoot-out in history were also repeatedly heard.

Meanwhile thousands of German fans were reported to be hurrying to organise car shares to get them to the UK, as well as booking out planes, trains and ferries.

Football chiefs were predicting that the price of German footballers could be expected to rise as a result of their achievements. "We're expecting a significant rise in their value," said Christian Seifert, the CEO of the German league (DFL). "But whether or not we're the best league in the world will only be clear in the next few years if we remain constant."

Yet for the veteran football commentator Philip Röber, the most surprising result of a spectacular week was not the sporting achievement so much as the praise German football had won from the British tabloids.

"Despite the rivalries of the last years, it is very clear that the islanders do not begrudge the two best German teams having their duel in Wembley stadium. No joke: the English tabloids are looking forward to a German duel at holy Wembley. Is it possible to think of a higher form of recognition for German football?"