on 14 November 2013
This is an absorbing book for anyone with an interest in German football, or even in the history of Germany in the 20th century. It is written with the enthusiasm of a true fan, but is also clear sighted in its account of difficult subjects, like the Nazi period, and the corruption scandals that have occasionally tarnished German football. The author paints vivid portraits of the central characters, and writes with a dry, understated humour, producing a number of laugh-out-loud moments along the way. This book shows the importance of football to post-war Germany, and is full of interesting insights and stories.
on 18 May 2007
I would recommend this book to any football supporter. Lichtenburger has produced a marvellously detailed account of his country's footballing history, and has presented it in a way which amply explains German terminology and gives even novices a understandable and detailed knowledge of Germany's football history. My only criticism is that I found myself slightly disappointed by the lack of detail of football in East Germany, in comparison to the vast information contained on West German football during the same periods. Nevertheless, Lichtenburger's knowledge and love his subject is evident, and Tor is a valuable, informative and enjoyable read.
on 15 September 2010
This puts it all into context. Yes they've won it three times (it is three isn't it?), but not since 1990 though they won the Euro's in 96. However read from a German fans point of view it all seems less inevitable.
Did Netzer really play for the German national team for only 20 minutes? He played in the last 20 minutes of the 1:0 win at Wembley that knocked England out of the 1972 Euro's - I think, at any rate it was Germany's first competitive win against England. His English contemporary, Rodney Marsh, got more caps than that but the England team he hardly played for didn't win anything. It's hard for an England fan not to read this through the lens of Englands failure not to win anything since, well you know since when. But, all the same, it's hard not to feel empathy with the writer and through him for German football fans as they win, for them, unexpectedly and against the odds. It's also touching that the writer still seems to have a certain deference and respect for English football - though from here it's difficult to see why? I suppose an arrogant book or one that didn't acknowledge football's English roots would not be marketed in English so it's hard to assess how representative of German football fans the writers position is.
The book also covers club football and I for one was surprised to learn that Bayern's domination of German football is a fairly recent phenomena (Munich of course, though like United - there are other Bayern's though I already knew that - did you!) . It also explains how to understand the numbers and names of German clubs (04 Schalke anyone) - though I admit I've already forgotten and they seem as cryptic as ever. You'd have thought the number simply referred to the year they were founded but apparently there's more to it than that.
The book retains one's interest - though it's slow in places - I don't think it'll convert any non-fans (of football). There are also some clumsy translations or at least attempts to translate the possibly untranslatable that left me puzzled.
Overall I'd thoroughly recommend this book to any football fan who's interested enough to have read this far into this review.