Football coach Otto Rehhagel made Werder Bremen the rival of Bayern Munich, the second division of Kaiserslautern the German champion, and the Greek team the European champion. He was a trainer of gray rats. Specializing in transforming young people into adults. The König Otto documentary tries to figure out how he did it, with director Christopher Andre Marx rehashing how Rehhagel won the 2004 European Championship with the Greeks. One of the greatest sensations in the history of sports, and above all a game with psychological tricks that Rehhagel has mastered all his life. He talked about the footballers more and was very convincing that the players really did get bigger, at least for as long as he was coaching them.
At the European Championships at the time, the Greeks competed in the quarter-finals against then-European champions France, along with then-world superstar Thierry Henry. They didn’t stand a chance, but the film recounts what Rehhagel whispered to his defender Georgios “Gyurkas” Sitaridis: “Thierry Henry doesn’t even know you. But tomorrow after the match he’ll know who you are.” So it happened, Greece won 1-0.
The film has a traditional structure, a short look at Rehhagel’s life, a long look back at the thrilling heroine, original scenes from games, thrilling TV commentary, and in between, current interview sequences from Rehhagel, Rehhagel’s named King Otto. , called King Otto. He sits on a throne-like chair, now 83, and depicts the man he has always depicted or who he is and what he was. Working class climbers. From Essen-Altenessen to the stadiums of the world that are, after all, theatres. “In the theater, the same thing applies: clap and be silent,” says Rehhagel, who did not think he was an expert in fine arts. “He was struggling to distinguish an omelette from Hamlet,” said fellow coach Max Merkel.
Rehhagel built his chariot castle and pulled the bridge
But Rehhagel was always someone who reached his destination by detour. When he no longer wanted him at Bayern, he became a champion with Kaiserslautern. When he was not appointed national coach, he triumphed with Greece. Rehhagel coped with all attacks from the outside, formed a unit with his coaching staff and players against those there, built his chariot castle, and pulled the bridge. He wrote: “Greek football is as attractive as trying to score a pole vault” timeBut all the experts who described his game as yesterday’s European Championship gave Rehhagel the fuel he needed for his motivational art. That’s how he always did, even in the Bundesliga, journalists liked to be enemies – his players liked to see it that way. In the movie there are some sequences of drills with the Greeks, “Follow me, hopp, hopp, hopp,” calls Rehhagel, and the players actually limp after him.
It’s not entirely new, at least not for someone who saw Rehhagel living in Werder at the time. In principle, Rehhagel was always a friendly, tyrannical ruler who spoke as if reading from ancient books, “Fortuna has heard us, the goddess of fortune.” However, who had a very reliable eye for the staff. He got to know the right players, and always had the right and loyal assistants with him, in Bremen manager Willie Lemke, with Greek assistant Ioannis Topalidis, the Greek who played in Germany for Starkenbergia Heppenheim, among others. Lower class, but Topalidis is a German-Greek whisperer, bilingual – that was significant because Rehhagel was never accustomed to Greek. Topalidis is the secondary protagonist in this film, the element that connects the coach and the team, between King Otto and the Greeks. Translate the king’s words and translate them until he reaches his people. “If the criticism is too harsh, I put some frost on it.”
Director Marx brings everyone back in front of the camera, Rehhagel, Topalides, Sitaridis and other miracle workers, including Traianos Dilas, who was actually allowed by Rehhagel to play Libero as if it was 1974 again. But that was one of Rehhagel’s strengths: bringing times and epochs together, the present with the past and the past, not just in terms of football. Dellas recalls: “Rehhagel told me I should keep an eye on everything from defense – like a giant of Rhodes.”
A solid, above all, well-deserved tribute to Otto, I. A reminder that football was an easy game.
King OttoGR, US, UK 2021 – Regie: Christopher André Marks. Camera: Lefteris Agapoulakis, Yannis Kanakis, Stelios Pissas Filmwelt. Film Fillet, 82 min.
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