Ever wondered how Germany went from the ignominy of exiting Euro 2000 at the group stage to conquering the World in 2014? Lessons were learned, solutions were put in place, and the whole story is covered in The Bundesliga Blueprint: How Germany Became the Home of Football by Lee Price.
I can remember where I was when Alan Shearer nodded in the winner for England against Germany in Charleroi at Euro 2000. Germany went home before the knockout stage – something that never happened. And losing to Kevin Keegan’s England too…
While many enjoyed schadenfreude at Germany’s expense, the country’s authorities and clubs banged the necessary heads together to create a template for success. This overhaul ran from club level right up to continuity in national team management, and led ultimately to World Cup glory in Rio de Janeiro 2014.
The Bundesliga Blueprint: How Germany Became the Home of Football tells the whole story. Author Lee Price scores some high-level interviews with those involved in, or witness to, those plans: Michael Ballack, Jens Nowotny, Owen Hargreaves and Alan McInally, and a host of high-level officials give their insider views. [Continues…]
The author continuously compares Germany’s experience with that of the English Premier League. His frustration is shared by many fans in England who pay a great deal more than their German peers to watch football, do not enjoy the same buoyant atmosphere (aided by safe standing in Germany), and endure the sad fact that England’s national team barely scratches the quarter-finals in any tournament it enters.
The book addresses the elephant in the room of domestic football in Germany: the perennial dominance of Bayern Munich. But fans of Borussia Dortmund will be delighted to learn there’s a whole chapter dedicated to them.
The Bundesliga Blueprint also covers the important factor of fan power. Bundesliga clubs have a “50+1” rule that ensures that fans have the majority say in club decisions. It also helps German clubs avoid the ownership problems encountered in the Premier League, and maintain low ticket prices for fans. Plus – spiritually – fans feel more connected with the club, which is why the Bundesliga is the most-attended league in the world.
With increasing numbers of overseas fans taking trips to Germany to watch football, The Bundesliga Blueprint should provide food for thought for other leagues around Europe.