Das Reboot by Raphael HonigsteinIf your interest in the game goes no further than England or America, stop reading right now. If, on the other hand, you feel your country’s national federation might have something to learn from German soccer’s remarkable transformation over the last couple of decades, you’ll find uber-pundit Raphael Honigstein’s Das Reboot: How German Soccer Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World more than worthwhile. (This despite the fact that its punny title doesn’t even scan if pronounced with a proper German accent!) I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Aston Villa—but we all need some distraction these days.

To most people, German soccer is as dominant as former England striker Gary Lineker’s joke suggests: “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and, at the end, the Germans always win.” But within Germany, prior to the 2014 World Cup, there was a belief that the national team wasn’t living up to its potential, with near-misses and early exits in major tournaments since their last World Cup win in 1990.

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