"Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington"
.... or on the football pitch, if this depiction of four young hopefuls trying to forge football careers at Borussia Dortmund is any guide. This film is about how making a successful career in football is incredibly fickle. Often depressing viewing, particularly the way all four contenders - even the one who was very very good and got into the first team - became visibily disillusioned. The happy, floppy-haired Chilean, bounching about pretending to be Marcelo Salas (to his coach's voiceover of "Claudio thinks he's going to be Salas .. he isn't far from being Salas, he's light years away") - by the end of the film getting gradually more obese, moping miserably around the Jugendhaus. The driven Mohamed, Ghanaian and determined to make it, whose decline started when he came back from Mecca one week into training camp, provoking another stern coachly outburst ("he must learn football is more important than religion") - again gradually phased out. Francis Bugri, the really really really good one (as you could tell by the way he tracked back in training early one) - shy, unassuming, hardworking and on the Borussia first team - and then cometh Sammer (as coach) and, in short order, injury and "The 25 Million Mark Man" Rosicky. And Heiko, half German half Thai, who ends up resigning and gets a soccer scholarship to the US (the film spends a bit too much time following him after he drops out)
Francis Bugri couldn't have completely dropped out of football - he must be playing somewhere in Germany?
If it ended after an hour, it might have been a feelgood flick, but Die Champions is a very well made portrayal of broken dreams.
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