Book Review: Matchdays – The Hidden Story of the Bundesliga

Matchdays Ronald Reng

Matchdays by Ronald Reng

As the Bundesliga continues to gain new interest and fans around the world, so the literature around it grows. In Matchdays: The Hidden Story of the Bundesliga, award-winning writer Ronald Reng tells the story of the Bundesliga from its launch in 1963 up to the German’s 2014 World Cup win.

 

But this is no ordinary story. Matchdays is told through the eventful life of Heinz Höher, a man who’s been involved in the Bundesliga right from the start. Attacking midfielder Höher started his career in pre-Bundesliga Bayer 04 Leverkusen before moving to spells at both Meidericher SV and VfL Bochum.

 

Reng describes the evolution of the Bundesliga player experience from the hardworking local hero to the culture of pampered international stars, which surfaces around the time of German clubs’ European successes in the late 1960s.

 

Höher managed VfL Bochum, FC Nuremburg and various Greek teams and his story of personal challenges juxtapositions against a changing Bundesliga. There are some great stories about quashed player revolts and last-gasp promotions against all odds.

Ostkurve Hertha Berlin fans

The Bundesliga’s appeal outside Germany is gathering pace

Reng also tells us how media coverage grew up with the Bundesliga, including tales of innovative show formats, chauvinism, and evolving player and fan power.

 

                  

Matchdays provides an enticing narrative and it’s hard to put down. You can both empathise with – and be frustrated by – Höher in equal measure. Reng has really nailed this.

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The Bundesliga’s popularity is growing outside Germany, drawn by high-quality football, incredible atmospheres, reasonable ticket prices and great beer – often served in your seat! For more, read our German football travel guides.

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