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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

on 8 March 2011
Midway through this book, there's a reference to a popular view of Udo Lattek, manager of Bayern in the 1970's, that any fool could have lifted silverware with a squad that featured Maier, Beckenbauer and Muller. It made me wonder whether any fool could have written a book about such an enthralling story, which it is; the story of German football is a rip-roaring tale - but that comes to life because of the way the book is written. It reads like a thriller, it's told from different angles and covers so much that is important to a football fan. For example, the history of 1970's football in Germany could be told as quite a pedestrian affair despite the success, but it's told from the position of Bayern's rivalry with Gladbach, from the German public's view of its national team and its players, and from the perspective of the leading personalities. It's far more interesting as a result, even if it does at times feel like an introduction to German football rather than a comprehensive history - which I suppose, at sub-300 pages, is all that can be expected.

Nevertheless, the account of the strugle to re-establish German football after WWII is a particular highlight, absolutely fascinating. It really puts the "Miracle of Berne" in 1954 into a perspective I hadn't grasped. For that reason alone, it's five stars. If there is room for improvement, it's the fact that this could have been expanded to be more factually comprehensive, although then it probably wouldn't read as well as it does. I also think that the book ends too abruptly -firstly, in 2002 without a real update save a one and a half page epilogue set in 2006; but also without a final overview of what has been a fascinating ride, and what the future holds. But for what the book is, the story of German football (not the HISTORY of German football), it's a cracking read.
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on 14 August 2009
Herr Hesse-Lichtenberger has written a most informative book on the history of German football from it's rise in Imperial Germany to it's years of world dominance in the seventies and eighties to its relative decline in the nineties. The book ends with the 2002 world cup final and the death of Fritz Walter, who was the star of the 1954 world cup winning side. Walter was chosen by the German FA as the best ever German player which is quite an aceivement when they could have chosen players like Franz Beckenbauer, Uwe Seeler or Gert Muller.

The book is full of interesting facts like what the various German club names mean, Borussia, Schalke, Hertha etc but it is far from simply being a list of German clubs, teams and games. The writer goes into the various political problems faced by the game in Germany from how it was seen as a foreign English game under the Kaiser, dispite the support of his son the Crown Prince, to it's exploitation under the Nazis. Also of interest is the German FAs long insistance on ameteurism. Until the mid sixties any German player who moved abroad to earm his living was automaticly barred from playing for the national team. The Germans being obsessed by image, one player was sent home for eating an orange on a railway platform, while at the 1966 world cup the team was told and accepted that their status as good sports and gentleman was more important than their performance on the field.

In Britain the image of the German football was one of a well organised team with solid rather that flair players. The author exposes this myth showing how the various national teams fought amougst themselves and with the football authorities. The most bizare incendent being the German FAs baring of the players wives from the dinner that followed the 1974 World Cup Winner. Many players including Gert Muller, Uli Hoeness and Wolfgang Overath refused to play for the national team again.

Written with a light touch, the writer has his favourites, Rudi Voller for instance, but this is book any football fan sould read. It also includes a chapter on the East German game.
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on 25 December 2007
This is a truly wonderful book. 2nd only in my 40-odd years of sports book reading to John Arlott's Fred.

The author has a light and natural style, which is saying something for a German, as it isn't his native language. Not that you'd ever guess this from his prose, which is dry without being ascerbic, but also builds wonderfully well in the build-up to the 1954 World Cup win.

That's an even better achievement, as Herr Hesse-Lichtenberger wasn't born until 1966! This book is full of information without being in the remotest a statistical litany, and looks at all the underlying passions in German football from its' very beginnings in the 1890's.

It pulls no punches, either with German clubs who were busy expelling Jews months before ordered to do so by Hitler's men, nor with a National side that managed to combine cynical disregard for the spectator with winning at all costs between 1982-1998 on too many important occasions-his thoughts, by the way, not mine.

And, just as an afterthought on quite how good this is, how many ENGLISH sportwriters could fluently write about the Premiership in German?
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VINE VOICEon 12 October 2008
I'll admit at the time of writing the review i haven't actually finished the book! However what i have read so far is fantastic. This isn't just the history of german football but the history of germany itself in most respects. Without a doubt a lot of time and effort has been put into the research of this book which pays off. For anyone who thinks german football isn't worth reading about, then think again. Highly recommended to all footy fans as this book has in-depth knowledge of the german football scene.
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on 30 January 2007
what i feared would be a dry account of the footballing nation almost everyone loves to hate turned out to be an absolute treat.

A historical account of the german game is made utterly fascinating by the inclusion of countless titbits of information.The authors love for his national game is evident and,while he obviously has his "hobby horses",he is scrupulously fair even when discussing teams and players he dislikes-for example he is no Bayern Munich fan and i too have always harboured a hard-to-explain dislike for this team,but he has made me look at them in a totally different,more positive light.

This book is worthy addition to any world football fans' library and "When Saturday Comes" can be proud to have this as a sister volume to their Spanish football book "Morbo"
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on 8 February 2018
Great book, if you are a fan of the German football, this is absolutely for you.
Well-researched, very informative and contains many stories from the history of German football.
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on 6 January 2014
I bought this for my brother as a Xmas prezzie as he's always been a massive fan of German football since he was a kid. He was thrilled with the book and says its a great read.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2003
I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend. This was an excellent decision. Cheers Stumpy...
This history of football in Germany is well written, funny and tragic. There were so many things that I learnt from this. From the way teams were named and originated to stories that just make you laugh out loud and others that reduce you to tears.
As an example there is the story of a player signed by a team who said "They wanted to give me a third of the gate receipts. I told them No Way. I won't accept less than a quarter."
To think that the Germans had no professionalism or national league until 1963. The way that the national federation controlled the game and looked on professionalism as a disease to be fought off is unbelievable to us.
This book proves that there is more to German football than Bayern Munich. It shows how team rose and fell and how the game developed from an "unpatriotic" and "foreign" one into a world beater. This teaches us about the German people and their view of us and other countries.
They are bemused at our image of them and do not understand our rivalry and obession with the War that pervades the meetings between our countries.
I highly recommend this to every who wants to gain an insight into the history and development of the game in Germany.
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on 7 October 2014
Excellent product and first class service.
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on 25 January 2013
I bought this book from a list of requests from my partner. He seems to be enjoying it very much (in fact he is beside me reading it as I type!) I cannot comment on the content personally as football is not really my thing, but judging by the engrossed way that it is being read I'd say that it is a good book (he would not persevere if it were not).
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