Book Review: Das Reboot

Das Reboot: How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World
by Raphael Honigstein. rating: 4.14/5 stars

Are you still in World Cup withdraw? I know I am. I have a book that can fill that big soccer ball sized hole in your heart. It is filled with Germany’s smashing run to be World Cup 2014 Champions. It also allows the reader a glimpse into a team behind the scenes preparing for the World Cup.

I began reading Das Reboot: How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World by Raphael Honigstein during the USMNT qualifying campaign for World Cup 2018, after Jurgen Klinsmann had been fired and before Bruce Arena had been fired. I immediately thought about buying a copy for Sunil Gulati, President of USSF at the time.

You’ll read about Klinsmann’s guiding hand to institute new methods to develop the German national team to its winning ways. He blazed a trail, clearing the path for them to become World Cup Champions. You come to understand his visionary nature was ahead of his time, being under-appreciated in his native and now adoptive country. It details how Joachim Löw, in the beginning, was Klinsmann’s assistant and portrays his rise to being the man in charge

Prior to Germany’s untimely departure from Euro 2004, change had been in the air, but with this loss, a soul-searching analysis began. There was nothing sacred and nothing left untouched. Honigstein clearly showed how the German Federation re-evaluated everything: academies, player development, player identification, dual national recruitment, squad selection, technology, nutrition, management of the Bundesliga clubs, and funding to name a few. This is truly the handbook for any federation wanting to improve. Listen up USSF! There are no secrets! It’s all in here!

Honigstein is an expert on German football. He packed this book with research and interviews from all key participants in Germany’s resurrection, including prolific names we are all familiar with. The insightful details to build a Men’s National Team show just how many layers are necessary to success. It was surprising at how much needed to be considered and reconciled to move forward.

In the realm of international football, my knowledge is miniscule. A number of German names and events eluded me. The author provides enough background information to aid the readers’ understanding of its importance. The book is slightly technical, with more pragmatism than narrative, though it is thought out and well written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I am not a big fan of non-fiction as a genre in general. I don’t recommend this as an easy beach read. On the positive, it was only a few chapters before it brought in current players and matches I was more familiar with. One moment in particular was  Mario Götze’s breathtakingly skillful World Cup winning goal in Brazil. Who could forget that volley? This book shares the secret behind the skill.

Having read about Germany’s ascendance four years ago it’s ironic they tanked so hard this year. It would be an even more interesting read now as it gives more back story to the tragedy that unfolded before the world’s eyes this summer. You get the feeling after reading this that while the Germans may have gone out early from the 2018 World Cup that they have the blueprint to rebuild again and again.


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