Das Reboot: How German football reinvented itself and conquered the world

Raphael Honigstein Vintage 2016
March 26, 2018

Remove Das Reboot from its specific context and it’s still fascinating. The story hinges around the German national team’s nadir and its eventual renaissance, but it could equally be applied to any situation within which a prevailing culture is challenged by a different way of thinking.

Reading it now, it all seems so obvious. Of course the Germans were right to pursue a different path and abandon the methods which had led it down to a deep malaise. There lies the benefit of hindsight. And, of course, of winning the World Cup.

Raphael Honigstein is an extremely well-connected journalist and, for the most part, he tells this story through a vast array of sources who manage to convey the local mood before, during, and after the reforms which, in part, were led by Jurgen Klinsmann.

It’s interesting as a case study, too. Anybody with even the slightest understanding of British football’s structural shortcomings will recognise the themes within. And, presumably, bemoan the fact that at the time the German FA were acknowledging their existence and pursuing their remedy, their English equivalents were still pretending that all was well. A bittersweet read, then.

Das Reboot isn’t mechanical. It isn’t just a blow-by-blow account of the reform, but rather a deep dive into some of the theories at its root. Really, that’s where it succeeds: not just by pointing to the gleaming silverware at its end, but allowing the reader to understand the basis and need for that change and by detailing the opposition it faced.

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