Germany has much to learn from how the Midlands is transforming itself from a traditional manufacturing economy, the country's new ambassador said.
Wolfgang Ischinger said he was impressed how the region had changed its focus to move to more high-tech industries which would protect jobs in the future.
He added his dream World Cup final was between England and Germany, although he wouldn't be drawn on who he would be supporting.
Both countries were ideal partners to lead Europe politically and economically in the future.
"England is our most important partner in the European Union. We do not want the UK to be margin-alised, it should not be on the bench as others play.
"I think that for me as the German ambassador to the UK nothing could have pleased me more than the fact we are hosting this tournament.
"There has been so much positivity so far."
Mr Ischinger said there had been lots of trade and investment between the two countries, with investment becoming increasingly important.
Large investments included BMW's engine plant at Hams Hall in Warwickshire, although there were many others.
"It is not just BMW," said Mr Ischinger. "There are a large number of German companies in Birmingham and this region which employ around 50,000 people."
Mr Ischinger was speaking before addressing a business lunch of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce, which was hosted by Wragge & Co in Birmingham.
The ambassador said: "We talked about how Birmingham is becoming the most important business city in the UK outside of London.
"There are lots of opportunities, for example in the medical technology and science parks.
"That is somewhere the two countries can cooperate and Germany can benefit as it moves from traditional industries. The Ruhr is now trying to find a way to become a service and high-tech manufacturing sector, exactly the same as the UK has done."