Raphael Honigstein is one of my favourite football pundits, providing extensive knowledge of German football with a humorous twist in articles for The Guardian and on BTSport’s European Football Show. This is his latest book, an analysis of the progress of German football from the mid-90s to the German national team, known as Die Mannscahft, winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It is an expert and in-depth look at the inner workings of the German football system, something, that as an avid football fan, I found extremely interesting. Obviously this is quite a niche book but one that I think most fans of modern football would enjoy.
Honigstein combines his excellent writing style with interviews with key figures in the history of modern football. The chapter entitled Mineiraço is a prime example. Each German goal from their 7-1 World Cup Semi-Final thrashing of Brazil is described in detail, but interspersed are the thoughts of people who were involved in that match. In covering tactics, youth systems and coaching in general he manages to outline the key aspects of the rise of the German national team, and how they were influenced by outside sources. I feel this book should be read by a lot of people in English football to help gain some ideas on how we can achieve international success, instead of just success in club competitions.
There is a passion throughout this book that shows the reader that this is a fan writing, he’s just in a privileged position to associate with some of the most famous names in football. By interviewing these names, and scientists, psychologists and other journalists, Honigstein has produced an excellent portrayal of German football in the 21st century.