Philipp Lahm and Toni Kroos are on their knees, fists clenched. Bastian Schweinsteiger had been on the ground, completely powered out, but is now attempting to get up. Argentina’s Pablo Zabaleta is passing the scene, his head down. In between, there is Nicola Rizzoli, the referee, with the ball tucked under his arm and blowing the whistle. This was the very moment when Germany were World Champions. Reinaldo Coddou captured it in a unique way, which has been chosen as “Sports Photo of the Year”.
This is the 45th time that the kicker magazine and the Verband Deutscher Sportjournalisten (VDS) have honoured the year's best sports photos. 74 participants submitted a total of 657 photos in the following categories: “General Sports - Action”, “General Sports - Feature”, “Youth and Amateur Football”, “General Football - Action and Feature”, “Football World Cup in Brazil – Germany are the Champions!” and “Portfolio”. The panel of judges was made up of experts, among which were The DFB Secretary-General Helmut Sandrock and the DFB Director of Media Ralf Köttker. The combined prize money of €30,500 is contributed by Nikon, Mercedes-Benz, the DFB and the kicker sports magazine.
Unsurprisingly, the winning entry was taken during the successful World Cup in Brazil. Reinaldo Coddou, a freelancer from Berlin, found an especially memorable way of picturing the seconds after the final whistle in the match against Argentina. “I was working on the tribune and that has enabled me to capture this moment from a unique angle. I was trying to catch the referee Nicola Rizzoli in the exact moment that he was blowing the whistle. All of Germany’s outfield players were close by at that time. It is quite unusual for the entire team to be gathered in such a small space during a football match,” commented the winner and admits that he owes his snapshot to luck.
The winning photo in the category “Football World Cup in Brazil – Germany are the Champions!” pictures Bastian Schweinsteiger crying after the final whistle in the Estádio do Maracanã. The photographer Michael Dalder waited for the perfect moment to capture Schweinsteiger’s emotions: “I positioned myself close to the German fans and searched for the key players. For me, those were Mario Götze and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is a massive fighter and motivator. I was lucky that he turned to face me and burst into tears when Julian Draxler hugged him.”
The second- and third-placed photos in this category capture the decisive goal by Mario Götze (by Kai Oliver Pfaffenbach) and the soaking wet Joachim Löw in the coaching zone during the match against the USA (by Martin Rose). The judges selected the photo “Kreisliga” (County League) by Sascha Fromm as the winner in the category “Youth and Amateur Football”. Last year’s winner Jürgen Fromme came in second with “Augen zu und durch” (Grit your teeth and bear it) and Helene Prang’s “Fairplay” won the third place.