If goats could talk, and indeed, used their new-found ability to tell stories – a pretty wild premise, I grant you – the gaze of the world would surely fall upon Kölner Zoo. Hennes VIII, the eighth iteration of 1. FC Köln’s world-famous goat mascot, could take time from his busy schedule of filming for adverts and television series to sit us all down, and tell us a story of Köln’s recent history: an unlikely triumph, followed by the most disconsolate of relegations.
2002 was a big year for the Germans. The new year saw the advent of a period of economic dominance for Germany as the Euro officially replaced the Deutsche Mark. In the summer Die Mannschaft became perhaps the worst side ever to reach a world cup final only to lose to a far superior Brazil. But in hindsight (in sporting terms anyway) the critical event for Germany of 2002 was the introduction of a miniature Bavarian full-back to professional football. Continue reading “Advent Day 21 – Lahm, Merkel and the ascendance of Germany”
“Football is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win” – Gary Lineker, 1990.
Over time, Germany as a footballing nation has been ruthless. They have had multiple times where the referee blows the full-time whistle and leave the watchers sat at home, thinking ‘How have they won that?’ It’s true, Germany do have their fair share of luck.
For Michael Ballack, it was a little different. He was Germany’s nearly man, described by Udo Muras for Die Welt as “the lone shining light in a leaden era” – he never had the glittering talents alongside him such as Toni Kroos or World Cup winner Mario Götze, instead he had Torsten Frings and Carstein Jancker as his teammates for Die Mannschaft.
By Kieran Ahuja
Seeing as Germany invented the advent calendar, it seems apt to begin this advent series with a big Deutsch number eins. And they don’t come much bigger than Oliver Kahn. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches with a commanding shout that made him seem double that height, ‘the titan’ won 8 Bundesligas, 6 German Cups, the UEFA Cup, the Champions League, and 3 World Goalkeeper of the Year awards.