“What makes a champion?” A question that is often asked and to which the new Opel campaign provides the answers by bringing decathlon world and European champion Niklas Kaul and the new Opel Astra GSe together.

Niklas Kaul Meets Opel Astra GSe

Niklas Kaul shivers. Rüsselsheim is not Johannesburg. Just a few days ago, the reigning European decathlon champion was training in warm and sunny South Africa. Now, in mid-April, filming for a new social media campaign on the carpark opposite the Adam Opel Haus in Rüsselsheim, it’s just cold. “How can I laugh when my teeth are chattering?” he asks with a wink. But then he laughs, of course. The role of the sourpuss just doesn’t suit him, he also has too much fun with this team. This is not the first time Niklas Kaul has been in front of the camera for the Opel crew. They know each other, the atmosphere is relaxed.

Focus on top performance

The second protagonist of the shoot – the Opel Astra GSe – makes the Mainz-based decathlete smile even more. The new Opel for Niklas Kaul. The tall athlete steps up to the 225 hp “Grand Sport electric” – what could be more fitting? The abbreviation “GSe” stands for top performance with a sporty chassis and electrified plug-in hybrid drive for locally emission-free driving. The campaign, conceived by the film production company “Neuland”, sums up the similarities between the two champions focused on top performance: they are united by a clear focus, have power, endurance and speed. Parallels – short, crisp and to the point in 30 seconds. “Technology, precision, passion – that’s what Opel stands for, that’s what Niklas Kaul stands for,” explains producer Sina Lübke.

“Technology, precision, passion – that’s what Opel and Niklas Kaul stand for.”

Clear focus: The reels were shot in mid-April in the car park opposite the Adam Opel Haus. Niklas Kaul takes off, director Niklas Hill is hot on his heels (top left).

Two sprints, close-up on the trainers – every shot is spot on. Niklas Kaul is not only highly motivated during the shoot. He has a lot planned for the next few months. The World Championships in Athletics in Budapest are coming up in August, and of course he wants to be among the front runners again. He even wants to achieve the direct standard for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris before then. Because then he could also start the World Championships free. Until then, however, he has to prepare himself optimally. And train, train, train. “Maybe the sun will come out again, then I can run a little more tonight,” says the athlete hopefully, looking up at the rain-grey sky, while director Niklas Hill changes the object and members of the crew set up the spotlights for the next shots.

Electric premiere with the Corsa

Opel and Niklas Kaul – it’s a perfect match: The athlete has been an Opel campaign ambassador for three years. In the campaign “A Champion for Champions”, the decathlete celebrated the “Golden Steering Wheel 2022” for the Opel Astra together with two-time European sprint champion Gina Lückenkemper and World Coach of the Year Jürgen Klopp. And Niklas Kaul is now also very familiar with the Opel product range. He already gained his first experience with e-mobility three years ago with a Corsa-e: “Driving electrically is something special – pure driving pleasure.” Shortly before that, he had been voted “Sportsman of the Year”, and it would have been hard to think of anyone else in 2019. At the World Athletics Championships in Doha, the then only 21-year-old had won gold. This made him the youngest decathlon world champion of all time – and the first German ever.

At the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021, he then experienced how quickly triumph and tragedy can alternate in sport. After a promising start, he picked up an injury halfway through the competition – and had to leave the stadium in a wheelchair. Understandably his celerbations we all the more enthusiastic after taking the European crown title in Munich last year. “That was an even more emotional experience than winning the 2019 world title,” he says on the sidelines of the shoot.

“Driving electrically is something special – pure driving pleasure.”

Maximum endurance: Opel trainers, pole vault pole – the film crew sets the scene for details, as well as dynamic action.

In recent months, the decorated athlete has been putting the Astra Sports Tourer plug-in hybrid through its paces. “Mostly in electric mode – the acceleration is just perfect,” says the decathlete. He knows all about increasing speed. His 1,500-metre run last year at the European Championships in Munich has become legendary. After nine individual disciplines, Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer was in the lead, although Niklas Kaul had already caught up in the javelin throw, throwing a personal best of 76.05 metres. And then came the final run. The Mainz native completed the 1,500 metres in an unbelievable 4:10.04 minutes, the next personal best – and he thus secured the title of European champion. He brought the gold medal with him to the shoot, just like his pole vault pole: they play a role in the campaign clips.

To university with the Astra GSe

The decathlete is now also starting the next level in terms of driving pleasure: the sporty chassis of the electrified plug-in hybrid with top equipment promises pure performance – the anticipation of driving off the car park in his new Astra GSe is great. “The charging options in the city of Mainz have recently become more and more numerous,” says Niklas Kaul. He wants to use electricity for most of the way to the university in Mainz, where he is studying physical education and physics. He will soon install a wallbox at home for this purpose. The shooting continues. The decathlete sets off at a sprint, just like the Astra with its sporty set-up.

Speed and traction: the social media reels sum up what the two athletes Niklas Kaul and Astra GSe have in common. Just as the youngest decathlon world champion of all time is clearly focused on his goal, the new Astra GSe is uncompromisingly designed for pure dynamics.

VIDEO Two who know what it takes to deliver top performance: Niklas Kaul is campaign ambassador for the dynamic top model of the Astra range.

May 2023

Text: Eric Scherer, Photos: Daniel Vogt