myTo paraphrase Sepp Herberger, the saying goes: people watch movies and football games because they don’t know how it will all end. A cinematic representation of the decade in which FC Bayern Munich became the success machine it remains to this day, despite some crises, represents an enormous challenge for the director: anyone reasonably familiar with The history of German football knows, after all, what rise Bayern experienced between 1964 and 1974; Even the younger generations and non-fans of the club are well informed about the results of important matches and the anecdotes surrounding notable players. The tension is different.
However, David Dietl proposed to film the story in a six-part series, based on the book “Good Friends: The True Story of FC Bayern Munich”, in which the veteran “Spiegel” journalist Thomas Hüetlin wrote in the style Narrative nonfiction (or, as Americans put it more succinctly, creative nonfiction) bathes the supposed truth in the warm light of its empathy.
Nostalgia in rich colors
Dietl also prefers the rich, conservative colors of sentimentality. With great effort, down to the smallest detail, the moment of social and football awakening is staged, both inside the parents’ homes, mostly modest, and in the clubs where they later celebrate their successes. Dietl manages to masterfully integrate contemporary photographs of Munich street scenes into his production as seamlessly as original images from major games.
The fact that the actors only vaguely resemble the actors (Jan-David Bürger is the closest to the Paul Breitner he plays) surprisingly doesn’t hurt the matter too much. Obviously, for Dietl it was even more important that a lot of Bavarian be spoken. The decision is understandable, since in this team of the century there was a notable accumulation of players from the region. However, listening can sometimes be exhausting for non-Bavarians. Dialect experts have to decide how authentically the coloring of the language has been achieved; On an FC Bayern forum they complained that the actor playing Sepp Maier (Paul Wellenhof) lacked Anzing’s special color.
In the end they are just little things. What’s more problematic is that even some of the main characters remain one-dimensional: above all, they have to embody the characteristics that made them important to the club’s rise. Breitner, the principled rebel; Beckenbauer, the confident, agile leader and charming family man; Maier, the joker; Müller, the sincere and shy one. His weaknesses, such as Beckenbauer’s tendency toward arrogance and Maier’s anxiety before important matches, are only briefly hinted at.
The uproar of amateur sports
In the group of guys, Bayern president Wilhelm Neudecker (Michael A. Grimm) is the most affected. With his smile distorted by ambition, he seems a parody of a patriarchal economic miracle entrepreneur who seems to know no other social aggregate than irascibility and greasy clientelism. Things are only slightly better for the legendary Robert Schwan, who to some extent invented the job of Bundesliga coach. Maximilian Brückner plays him as an intelligent, vain, cunning, sarcastic, determined and eloquent man with considerable knowledge of human nature and an even greater level of alcohol consumption. With his instinct for marketing opportunities and the importance of investing in professional working and training conditions, Schwan laid the structural foundations for FC Bayern’s rise. For his added benefit, he replaced Franz Beckenbauer in the management, made him a publicity figure and thus established in Germany the profession of player agent as “Mister 20 percent”.
With this figure, Dietl clearly demonstrates how the lying positions of the noble amateur sport forced those involved to practice practices beyond the border of illegality. How the growing power of money in football is traced is one of the strongest passages in “Good Friends.” It coincides with the fact that of all the characters, Uli Hoeneß’s is the one that is drawn in the most differentiated way. He is at the meeting point between the brave kickers and the club’s defrauded management. Although the film exaggerates with references to the subsequent downfall due to tax crimes, the highlight is how Max Hubacher portrays the intellectual acuity of Hoeneß, whose populist streak, toughness with himself, greed for money and calculating character still influence the cronyism of the six-part series.
The selfish Hoeneß arrived at the World Cup final with a serious cold that he hid and soon caused the penalty that gave the Dutch an early lead. His friends Breitner and Müller rectified the mistake with their goals and then Maier held on and won, as the film tells it. The fact that the final was won was only the logical consequence of the fact that the Bayern players had found a friendly relationship despite their differences in character. And the Munich club fulfilled its mission at the national level in Munich. Fans of other clubs, whose heroes have also played a key role, will have some objections at this point. But the RTL series is not made for them either.
The first three episodes of Good friends – The rise of FC Bayern It will be available to watch on RTL+ starting this Saturday, the remaining episodes starting November 22. The first three episodes will also be broadcast on RTL on November 22 from 8:15 p.m.