Das Reboot. By Raphael Honigstein. Nation Books; 288 pages; $17.99. Yellow Jersey; £18.99.

ALMOST half of the goals scored in football are virtually random, reckons Martin Lames of the Technical University of Munich. And football’s best loved narratives—the come-from-behind win, the giant-killing—are those that upset expectations. But Raphael Honigstein’s new book “Das Reboot” focuses on the bits of the game that are not random, and how a well prepared team faces anything but a coin-flip.

After a long period as a footballing superpower, the German side became complacent. The nadir was the European Championships in 2000, when it failed to win a game, even losing to England in a match Mr Honigstein describes as “an all-round embarrassment of footballing poverty”. 14 years later, Germany would humiliate Brazil, the World Cup hosts, 7-1 before defeating Argentina to take home the trophy.

Mr Honigstein’s tale is of unsung innovators as well as national heroes. Dietrich Weise and Ulf Schott, two former players turned officials at the national football association, became convinced that Germany needed to expand its youth programmes. After the Euro 2000 debacle, Germany’s top professional clubs were ordered to set up academies. They were initially resistant to the financial burden, but after ten years, more than half of the players in the top division were academy graduates, saving clubs millions on transfer fees.Coaching also evolved, with the appointment of a former international striker, Jürgen Klinsmann, to the national team in 2004. He irritated many by commuting from California, but he brought a new focus on the mind: Mr Honigstein describes quasi-“management seminars”, with team-building and language classes alongside football. But he also got his limited talent playing a fast, attacking football that was a hit when Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup, which one player described as “Germany’s Summer of Love”. The third-place finishers were thronged at the Brandenburg Gate.

By 2014, Mr Klinsmann had handed over to his former assistant, Joachim Löw, but the team was stocked with players who had had Klinsmann-style training since childhood. One such exercise was the Footbonaut, which fires balls at different speeds and trajectories at players, who must control and pass the ball into a highlighted square until it becomes second nature. Mario Götze (pictured) used the machine for years at his club. In the 2014 World Cup final, he controlled a cross with his chest and volleyed the ball into the net, winning the championship with an exact replica of the training the machine provided. It was “one fluid, instant motion”, a successfully fulfilled plan to defeat randomness.

Note: This article has been corrected to give the correct name of the publishing imprint, Nation Books.