1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Documentary Film Opens

DW staff (jc)October 2, 2006

Sönke Wortmann's "Germany: A Summer's Tale" tells the story of how former German national soccer coach Jürgen Klinsmann took a team in disarray to a third-place finish in the World Cup.

Director Sönke Wortmann films from the bench in the Stuttgart stadium
Director Sönke Wortmann spent two years with the German national teamImage: picture-alliance/dpa

It's only two-and-a-half months since the 2006 World Cup came to an end, but German moviegoers are already getting the chance to relive the excitement. Director Sönke Wortmann's eagerly anticipated documentary film "Germany: A Summer's Tale" premiers on Tuesday in Berlin, and soccer fans around the country are expected to pack cinemas.

Wortmann spent two years with the German national squad making the film, enjoying unprecedented access to players and coaches. The 108-minute documentary has been edited down from more than 100 hours of footage and offers an intimate, behind-the-scenes view of the host nation's World Cup campaign.

The film, much of which was shot with a hand-held camera, shows the players in their hotel rooms, on the team bus, on the practice field and in the locker room. Wortmann captures the team's elation after beating mighty Argentina in the tournament's quarterfinals -- and the players' tears after crashing out against Italy in the semis.

"I had the feeling that I was so assimilated no one even noticed I was there," Wortmann recalled ahead of the film's premier Oct. 3.

Klinsmann as Hero

Former German national coach Jürgen Klinsmann on the sidelines during a match
Former German national coach Jürgen Klinsmann inspired a young and inexperienced squad.Image: AP

As might be expected, Wortmann focuses on the German national squad's former coach Jürgen Klinsmann. When Klinsmann took over after the team's disastrous performance in the 2004 European Championship, many Germans feared that the squad would embarrass itself on its home soil at the World Cup.

Klinsmann, who lives in California, shook up the team with state-of-the-art fitness training methods and a decidedly American belief in the power of positive thinking. "Germany: A Summer's Tale" allows audiences to listen in on the coach's pre-match motivational speeches, as the team went to exceed all expectations at the World Cup.

Wortmann -- whose previous work includes "The Miracle of Bern" about Germany's victory in the 1954 World Cup -- himself played lower-division professional soccer, and his love of the game shows. Journalists given the chance to preview the film have been wildly enthusiastic about it.

As a special treat, the film reveals one of the most hotly debated secrets from the 2006 World Cup -- the contents of the note sheet used by goalkeeper Jens Lehmann during the penalty shoot-out that led to Germany's dramatic victory over Argentina.