Starring: Louis Klamroth, Peter Lohmeyer, Johanna Gastdorf, Mirko Lang Director: Sonke Wortmann Category: I (German) The divided and beaten Germany of the early 1950s was not much of a place for a young man to grow up, by the looks of The Miracle of Bern. Times were tough, many fathers were still away as prisoners of war and there was not much to give people hope in a battered land. Sonke Wortmann's unabashedly sentimental film looks at the one thing that did bring people together, and also brought light into what were otherwise darks days - West Germany's improbable victory in football's 1954 World Cup. The story centres on a young man, Matthias (Louis Klamroth), who is obsessed with football and has developed a 'father-son' relationship with local star Helmut 'The Boss' Rah (Sascha Gopel), while his real father has been rotting in a Russian internment camp. When his dad (Peter Lohmeyer, below with Klamroth) returns, he is a broken man - and he sets about trying to enforce his will on a family that had up to that point been valiantly getting by on their own. This is all set against the backdrop of West Germany's faltering progression through the early stages on the World Cup in Bern. As Matthias and his young mates play out their passions on the local pitch, so too do their heroes while their nation gathers around its TVs and transistors eagerly awaiting every score. Wortmann has not spared us too many cliches, but surprising works well. Only an ill-advised sub-plot about a young German reporter and his new bride jars as we are swept up in the drama of the competition. By the time we get to the football final against the favourites, Hungary - who had beaten the German team 8-3 in group play - emotions are running high - and Wortmann conjures up a thrilling finale using both the skills of players from the German Bundesliga and CGI effects that give the scenes a news-reel feel. The Miracle of Bern opens today.