Wednesday 24 January 2018

Brazil 2014 was climax of planned German journey

Book review: Dean Goodison

Das Reboot - How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World
Das Reboot - How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World

Once every four years the World Cup comes around. It's an occasion now, the colours are vibrant, the supporters are, for the most part, warm and friendly, and there's a carnival atmosphere, not just in the host country, but around the 32 nations that are lucky enough to be competing.

Yet the action on the field is just a burst of 90 minutes, where luck can play as much a part as skill. Years of preparation can come down to the most innocuous events within a game; a misplaced step, an ill-advised turn, all these random events, or so they seem.

'Das Reboot - How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World' might just make you think otherwise. For over a decade Germany followed a set path back to the top of the footballing planet, doing things the right way, not the complacent way, and Brazil 2014 was the climax of that journey.

Raphael Honigstein's publication delves deeper into the little details, the things many would claim are insignificant, and shines a light on how those involved, internally and externally, prepared the 'Nationalmannschaft' to regain their place at the top of the world football pyramid.

Intertwined with the story of how Germany built their way back to the summit is the story of the tournament itself. Hoginstein mixes the long-term strategic plan with what happened in Brazil reasonably well.

The only area of trouble the author runs into in his blending happens in the first quarter of the book. There's a lot of see-sawing between scenes and characters with mixed results.

It's sometimes difficult to get a handle on what's going on, but if the reader can navigate the first 50 pages then they are rewarded greatly. Thereafter it's really interesting stuff.

As comprehensive as this is on the build-up, some of the on-field tactics are forgotten a little. Yes, there are mentions of how Germany play, their aims, but the analysis of the tactical battle on the park just doesn't reach the same level as the information garnered from off-the-pitch improvements.

For Liverpool supporters, or just the general football fan who has been spellbound with the early months of Jurgen Klopp's Anfield career, there is a fantastic chapter, 'An Island of Modern Football', that explains a lot of what England's favourite German is all about, in a football sense.

It makes tasty reading and leaves the reader intrigued about what the red side of Merseyside will achieve with a full Klopp-organised pre-season under their belts.

G.A.A. players in the middle of drinking bans will be mystified reading as to how the German could win a World Cup while 'indulging' in a beer or glass of wine on off-days in Brazil 2014.

Maybe the most surprising thing revealed in the book is how, despite seemingly leaving no stone unturned in order to improve, Joachim Low treated setpieces with disdain, never practising them until two years ago. In the end, a big thing, as well as the small things, made the difference.

Who would buy this book? It would be difficult to recommend this to the average sports fan who just wants to plonk themselves down and get away from the rigours of life and just enjoy the back-and-forth entertainment that sport can offer. It's simply too complex for that.

The new age coach-y types will have the opportunity to pick up information in this publication that you just don't get doing the 'Youth Cert', and they must be the target market. For the general soccer fan, a lot of this information will just fly over their heads; a light read it is not.

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