You cannot pull it out by hand. That is risking breaking the cluster. The tools only cost a few bucks, so spring for them.
They slide in between the cluster and the dash, and then you ease the cluster out. Your E-Class has an adjustable steering wheel which makes the job easier.
There are many many threads with instructions, so do a search and prepare for lots of info.
BTW, if you are not into the task you can have a dealer do it, and most charge an hour's labour plus the bulbs. Replace them all or you'll be pulling the cluster again soon.
I used the tools to do the bulbs on our 98 E300 and the job took about 30 minutes. I could do it quicker now, but went very slowly as it was my first time. On the C230, it takes longer as I don't have an adjustable steering wheel and have to work to get the cluster around the wheel. The dealer removes the wheel to do the job, but I can do it without.
There is a way to make your own tools using a wire coat hanger, but the MB tools work better.
1998 C230 "Black Betty"