There have been very few favourable headlines about the German national football team recently. Media and fans mercilessly hit out at Die Mannschaft after their embarrassing performance at last year’s Euro.
Maybe this is the right moment to look back on what might have been their greatest achievement.
Structured as a real-time protocol, “7:1. Das Jahrhundertspiel” recounts the Germans’ triumphant victory over 2014 World Cup host nation Brazil.
Author Christian Eichler has created a true page-turner by considering many valuable side aspects of the most spectacular match in recent years – from a study of the antagonistic characters of team managers Luiz Felipe Scolari and Joachim Löw to investigating what it felt like to sit on the subs’ benches on this memorable night in Belo Horizonte.
The sports journalist analyses why Brazil suffered such a horrific defeat. From the Neymar drama to the suspension of skipper Thiago Silva, you could have seen it coming. However, who would have thought that the Selecao disgrace themselves so badly against a German team that had to leave injured midfield maestros Marco Reus and Ilkay Gündogan at home?
Eichler has done a brilliant job recapturing the unique atmosphere at the Estadio Mineirao where Brazil’s fans could hardly believe their eyes as Germany upped the score at breakneck speed. Soon after Sami Khedira scored Germany’s fifth goal in the 29th minute, Selecao supporters started to aim their rage at their own team, especially clumsy striker Fred. Instead of booing the dominating opponents, they paid tribute to Mesut Özil and his teammates.
The match statistics eventually revealed a 13-12 shot-on-target lead of Brazil who also were in possession of the ball most of the time (52%). Nevertheless they suffered a once-in-a-lifetime defeat that heaped another pile of pain on a country divided over social injustice, underfunded hospitals and institutionalised corruption.
7:1. Das Jahrhundertspiel
By Christian Eichler
Published by Droemer (www.droemer-knaur.de)