A Rocky Start
I’m a big fan of football documentaries. All Or Nothing: Manchester City remains one of my favourites with The History Of The Champions League and Sky Sport’s excellent “Year In Review” topping the list. Fresh off the success of This Is Football, Amazon Prime returns with more football action, this time taking us right into the heart of this talented German team.
For Borussia Dortmund the philosophy is clear – play good football and challenge the status quo. With a new manager in charge and a fresh perspective, Dortmund raised eyebrows last year when the team catapulted to the top of the Bundesliga. After a brief introduction, where we see the manager’s thoughts first-hand, we jump back to the start of the season where we see Dortmund preparing for the games ahead.
Unlike All Or Nothing, Dortmund decides against showing commentary in the matches, or the league table in general, instead underlying matches with a classical musical score and narration from the players themselves. The result is a somewhat passive feel to these games, with one shot late on stubbornly keeping the focus on the player, rather than the ball, during a goal. It’s these sort of moments that really take away the emotion that drives football and makes this documentary series far more passive than it should be.
The general feel and progression of the series feels a little sporadic too if I’m honest, jumping around games and diving into the past with little cohesiveness. After showing a selection of clips from the first 11 games in the Bundesliga, we then see the team preparing for the Champions League, as well as their first-hand report of the horrible explosions that rocked the team during this time. This then leads on to talk about Belgium star Witsel, how the players feel training under the new manager and a look ahead at the second half of the season.
During this time, we also take a slight detour, jumping back to the past where we’re greeted with black and white archival footage, depicting Borussia Dortmund winning the European Cup back in 1966, which does tie things in nicely with the preparation for an upcoming cup game. It’s here we leave things, rather abruptly I must say too, as we see the drama unfold in a home cup game and a look ahead and what’s to follow in the upcoming episodes.
Inside Borussia Dortmund is a fascinating but somewhat ill-paced series right now. With an unstructured feel, this 68 minute episode breathlessly jumps from one area of the club to the next, with the brief clips of games tying everything together. There’s no doubt that the documentary is interesting, and seeing some of the upcoming drama in their season unfold here is going to be very intriguing for the weeks ahead.
Episode 1 of Inside Borussia Dortmund feels like it’s trying to cram as much as it can into its 68 minutes without a consistent pacing to tie everything together. As a football fan this is certainly a decent enough documentary to check out but whether it can pull off some of the drama and emotion to come in Dortmund’s season remains to be seen.