Review – Amazon Prime’s Inside Borussia Dortmund

Amazon Prime’s much awaited documentary series about Borussia Dortmund’s last season finally premiered on Friday. The club decided to allow the German film maker Aljoscha Pause behind the scenes for the Rückrunde of the 2018/19 season to grant fans and TV viewers alike a unique inside into how the club is functioning.

Given that BVB were leading the Bundesliga table by six points at the start of the Rückrunde, it might be tempting to think that the club was hoping to end up with a story of how Bayern’s monopoly on the Bundesliga title was overcome. However, given Pause’s CV as a producer of excellent football documentaries, it would have been unlikely that the viewer would have been served a fluffy feel good story about the club from North Rhine-Westphalia.

Over the last few years Aljoscha Pause has created documentaries that have taken a deep dive into the football business, highlighting the day to day ongoings rather than just the media headlines that drive short lived narratives. Tom meets Zizou and Trainer are two of the best football documentaries coming out of Germany over the last decade, and both were made by the 47-year-old film maker from Bonn.

Special insights

In the first episode of Inside Borussia Dortmund the viewers gain an outlook on how the people behind the team – the physio, the bus driver and kit manager – are going about their jobs. The team behind the team makes the wheels go around within a football club, but that usually gets lost in the daily media onslaught of articles solely focussing on the team’s last or upcoming match.

At the start of the episode both officials and players talk about the upcoming Rückrunde and the season so far with the backdrop of how the team has developed after the attack on Borussia Dortmund’s team bus ahead of the club’s planned Champions League match against AS Monaco in April 2017.

Both Marcel Schmelzer and Roman Bürki talk openly and frankly about the massive impact that event had on the team and the club as a whole. CEO Aki Watzke goes as far as admitting that the massive changes occurring at the start of the 2018/19 season were in no small part due to what had happened to the team on that night.

Transfer talks and the day to day grind

In the documentary the club officials have also allowed Pause to bring his camera team to meetings between Michael Zorc, Aki Watzke, Sebastian Kehl and Matthias Sammer. The question of what Sammer’s role at the club has been gets answered and Michael Zorc talks in detail about his transfer philosophy.

The day to day grind and the matches of the Rückrunde serve as the backdrop, allowing viewers who aren’t familiar with BVB’s season to catch up on what happened on the pitch during that period of time.

All in all one can say that this first episode shows that Pause hasn’t lost his touch. All of his documentaries have been great and his new Amazon Prime TV series seems to be a new masterpiece.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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