Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award


‘without question the most entertaining historical football book ever written’ – The Guardian


‘In Hesse’s capable hands, the history of German football seems more entertaining, unpredictable and scandal-infested than England’s’ – FourFourTwo


‘Beautifully crafted, demolishes myths with the cold-blooded efficiency of a literary Gerd Müller’ – The Times


Germany did not have professional players or a national league until the 1960s, yet it became one of the most successful football nations in the world.

Tor! (Goal!) traces the extraordinary story of Germany’s club and international football, from the days when it was regarded as a dangerously foreign pastime, through the horrors of the Nazi years to postwar triumphs and the crisis of the new century.

Tor! challenges the myth that German football is ‘predictable’ or ‘efficient’ and brings to life the fascinating array of characters who shaped it: the betrayed pioneer Walther Bensemann; the enigmatic genius Sepp Herberger; the all-conquering Franz Beckenbauer; the modern misfit Lothar Matthäus. And even the radio commentator Herbert Zimmermann, whose ecstatic cries of ‘Tor!’ greeted the winning goal in the 1954 World Cup final and helped change a whole nation’s view of itself.


Fully revised and updated ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Tor! is the definitive history of German football.

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