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Meanings, definitions, translations—the German soccer dictionary


Gio Reyna was delighted to get the results of his latest German test over at Borussia Dortmund... - © Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Gio Reyna was delighted to get the results of his latest German test over at Borussia Dortmund... - © Alex Grimm/Getty Images


Gio Reyna certainly knows his way around a football pitch - or should that be a soccer field? – but he's also making strides with the Bundesliga's local lingo. Keep up with the Borussia Dortmund and USA star thanks to our handy A-Z guide…


50+1 rule - League Association rules stipulate that members of all German professional clubs must retain at least a 50 per cent plus one share, thus preventing any single entity taking control

The 50+1 rule has helped supporters to keep a close connection with players and create a unique match day atmosphere in the Bundesliga. - IMAGO/BRUNO FAHY/IMAGO/Belga


Abseits - offside

Abstaubertor - poacher's goal

Abstieg - relegation

Abstiegszone - relegation zone

Abwehr - defence

Abwehrreihe - back line

Achter - a player who plays the "No. 8" role in midfield, a box-to-box player, adept in both attack and defence

Die Adler - the Eagles: a reference to the majestic bird of prey that adorns the Eintracht Frankfurt shirts

Die Alte Dame - nickname for Hertha Berlin, literally 'the Old Lady'

Angriff - attack

Angstgegner - bogey team

Anpfiff/Anstoß - kick-off

Aufstieg - promotion

Ausputzer - sweeper

Außenstürmer - winger

Außenverteidiger - full-back

auswärts - away from home

Auto City club - nickname sometimes given to VfL Wolfsburg owing to the city's famous car manufacturer and main sponsor, Volkswagen

It's not uncommon to hear Hertha Berlin referred to as the 'Old Lady'. - Oliver Hardt/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images


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Baden-Württemberg derby - A derby game contested by clubs from the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg, such as Freiburg, Hoffenheim or Karlsruher (Baden) and VfB Stuttgart or Aalen (Württemberg)

Ballbesitz - possession

Bananenflanke - curler, in-/ outswinger (cross); banana ball

Bank - substitutes' bench

Beinschuss - nutmeg

Betzenberg/Betze - popular name for Kaiserslautern's Fritz-Walter-Stadion, so called due to its location on the Betzenberg Hill

Bökelbergstadion - the former home of Borussia Mönchengladbach, until the Foals moved into the Borussia-Park at the beginning of the 2004/05 season

Borussia – the Latin name for Prussia. Dortmund and Mönchengladbach share the name, with both of them located in what was once the Prussian Empire, which spanned northern Germany at its height.

Die Breisgauer - belonging to the Breisgau region, encompassing part of the Black Forest... SC Freiburg

Mit breiter Brust - literally 'with a big chest', meaning: with confidence

Bruchweg Boys - collective nickname given to then-Mainz players Lewis Holtby, Andre Schürrle and Adam Sazali, who celebrated as if they were a rock band when they scored during the 2010/11 season. Bruchweg was the name of Mainz's former stadium

Bundestrainer - the title given to the coach of the Germany national team, currently Joachim Löw

BVB - abbreviation commonly used to refer to Borussia Dortmund. The initials stand for Ballspiel-Verein Borussia, or Borussia ball-sports club

Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is awash with yellow-black BVB flags and banners on match day. - Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images


Cannstatter Kurve - the home fans' main stand at Stuttgart's Mercedes-Benz Arena

Der Club - a succinct alternative for 1. FC Nürnberg (1st Football Club Nuremberg)

Coachingzone - technical area

Julian Nagelsmann has been bringing a touch of sartorial elegance to the Bundesliga 'Coachingzone' since 2016. - motivio via www.imago-images.de/imago images/motivio


Dahoam - often used in the phrase 'Finale Dahoam', literally 'home final', which refers to Bayern Munich's ill-fated 2012 UEFA Champions League final on home turf against Chelsea

Dauerkarte - season ticket

Dinos - nickname for Hamburg - the 'dinosaurs' - referring to the club's status as the only side in Germany to have played exclusively in the Bundesliga since its inception in 1963

Doppelpack - brace

Doppelpass - one-two

Dreierpack - hat-trick

Dritte Liga (3. Liga) - Germany's third division

Paco Alcacer came off the bench to score a 34-minute hat-trick against Augsburg in October 2018. - imago/Jan Huebner

Dribbeln - dribble

Dritte Liga - Germany's third division

Drücken Sie die Daumen! - keep your fingers crossed!


Ecke/Eckball - corner kick

Eckfahne - corner flag

Ehrentreffer - literally an 'honour goal', but what we'd know in English as a consolation goal

Eigentor - own goal

Eintracht - Frankfurt and Braunschweig’s prefix means harmony, or 'united'. Whether the teams enjoy as much on the pitch is another matter

Einwurf - throw-in

Die Eiserne/ Eisern Union - The Iron Ones/ Iron Union: The nickname for Bundesliga newcomers Union Berlin

Elfmeter - penalty

Elfmeterpunkt - penalty spot

Endspiel - final

Endstand - final score

Englische Woche - literally meaning 'English week', referring to a busy period of matches where teams have a midweek fixture, as is the norm in English football

Eröffnungsspiel - the inaugural match of the new Bundesliga season, contested between the reigning champions and one of the other 17 teams and, since the 2002/03 season, played on a Friday evening

Ersatzspieler - substitute

Erzrivale - arch rivals, for example Dortmund and Bayern


Fahrstuhlmannschaft - literally an 'elevator side' due to a tendency to move up and down between leagues: a 'yo-yo team'

Fallrückzieher - bicycle kick, overhead kick

Fernduell - a situation in which results elsewhere have implications for a team or teams. For example, when a team at the bottom faces relegation depending how other teams around them fare in the table

Flanke - cross

Die Flingeraner - Fortuna Düsseldorf nickname, in tribute to their humble beginnings in the working-class district of Flingern

Die Fohlen - the Foals: a name given to Borussia Mönchengladbach's enterprising young bucks of the 1970s, now the team's recognised nickname

Foulspiel - foul play

Freistoß - free kick

Freundschaftsspiel - friendly game

Die Fuggerstädter - a quirky option for Augsburg: the small city in Bavarian Swabia is commonly referred to as the Fuggerstadt, the Fugger family being a prominent business and banking dynasty when Augsburg blossomed during the Renaissance

Fußballplatz - football pitch

Fußballverein - football club

With his cultured left foot, Nuri Sahin sure knew how to take a free-kick. - 2018 Getty Images


Gastgeber - hosts

Gegenpressing - A high-pressing style of football to regain possession pioneered by Ralf Rangnick at Schalke and Jürgen Klopp at Dortmund in the early years of this decade

Gegner - opponent

Die Gelbe Wand - Dortmund's iconic South Stand, literally 'the Yellow Wall'

Gesperrt - suspended

Die Grün-Weißen - if it's green and white, it's probably the men from the river Weser: Werder Bremen

Gelsenkirchen - the industrial city in North Rhine-Westphalia from which Schalke hail

Grätsche - sliding tackle

The sliding tackle is a key part of any player's repertoire. - Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images


Hackentrick - back-heel

Halbes Hendl - half a roast chicken - typical Bavarian fare served up at the world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival

Halbfinale - semi-final

Halbzeit - half-time

Heim - home

Herbstmeister - the mid-season leaders, the team leading the Bundesliga table after 17 games when the winter break commences

Hinrunde - the first half of the Bundesliga season, Matchdays 1-17

Hinspiel - the first game of a two-legged tie. Usually used when speaking of knock-out competitions but can also describe league encounters

HSV - abbreviation commonly used to refer to Hamburger SV, standing for Hamburger Sport-Verein, or Hamburg Sports Club

Humba - post-match celebration involving both the players and fans. Traditionally, the key player in a victory will cajole the crowd with a megaphone, while the rest of the team join hands and wave in time with the supporters

The simple lyrics (“Give me an H, Give me a U, Give me an M, Give me a B, Give me an A”) were adopted in the mid-1990s by fans of Mainz. - 2011 Getty Images


Innenverteidiger - centre-back


Joker - a substitute who comes on and scores


Die Kiezkicker - a nickname for FC St. Pauli, derived from the neighbourhood of Hamburg in which the club is based

Der Klassiker - The name given to meetings between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund; Germany's answer to El Clasico

Die Kleeblätter - Greuther Fürth go by the name of 'the Cloverleaves', though luck has evaded them on the two occassions the club have been promoted to the Bundesliga.

Kohlenpott - literally 'coal pot' - the industrial Ruhr region, famous for mining, Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 being its most-known representatives

Die Königsblauen - FC Schalke 04, aptly named because of their royal blue shirts

Die Knappen - Schalke's club nickname, literally 'The Miners' in tribute to the old mining communities of Gelsenkirchen where the club are based

Knappenschmiede - The German name for Schalke's vaunted youth academy, which has produced players such as Manuel Neuer, Mesut Özil and Leroy Sane. Literally translates as 'talent forge'

Die Kraichgauer - a nickname for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, derived from the Kraichgau region where the club is based


Latte - crossbar

Länderspiel - international match

Leo - what players say to one another on the pitch if they want a team-mate to let the ball run

Die Lilien - SV Darmstadt 98 are known as 'the Lilies'

Linienrichter - linesman

Die Löwen - TSV 1860 Munich and Eintracht Braunschweig are nicknamed 'The Lions'

lupenreiner Hattrick - three goals scored by one player in the same half; often abbreviated to 'Hattrick' and not to be confused with the standard English definition of the term

Lupfer - lob


Manndeckung - man-marking

Mannschaft - team

Mauer - wall

Meisterschale - the Bundesliga shield, lifted by the team which finishes top of the standings after 34 Matchdays

Mia san Mia - Bayern Munich's club motto; Bavarian variation of Wir sind wir, or 'we are who we are'


Nachspielzeit - additional/stoppage/extra time

Die Nationalmannschaft - the Germany national football team

Die Nationalelf - the national team, literally 'the National Eleven'

Neuzugang - new signing

Alphonso Davies is one of the latest 'Neuzugang' to join Bayern Munich. - FC Bayern München

Niederlage - defeat

Die Nullfünfer - the 05ers or Mainz, founded in 1905

Nord-Süd Duell - literally translated as the north-south duel, this phrase is used as a label for the fixture Bayern vs. Hamburg, traditionally one of German football's biggest matches

Nordderby - the term used for the derby played between northern giants and rivals Bremen and Hamburg


Ordner - steward


Parade - save

Platzverweis - sending-off

Pokal - cup (DFB Pokal - German Cup)

Pott - pot; coll. both for cup and, in abbreviated form (=Ruhrpott) for the Ruhr district


Querpass - square ball


Rasenballsport – Literally “lawn-ball sport”, which Leipzig’s prefix “RB” stands for

Raumdeckung - zonal marking

Raumdeuter - A term used by Thomas Müller to describe his unique style of play. Translates as 'space invader'

Regionalliga - the fourth tier of German football, split into 'Bavaria', 'North', 'South West', 'West' and 'North East'

Der Rekordmeister - record champions (Bayern)

Remis - draw

Rote Laterne - cellar-dwellers, or those in the bottom-half of the table

Die Roten - generally decked out in a ruby hue... Die Roten or the Reds

Die Roten Büllen – the Red Bulls. Leipzig’s nickname

Revierderby - the name typically given to the derby between regional neighbours Schalke and Dortmund

Die Roten Teufel - the Red Devils, Kaiserslautern's nickname

Die Rothosen - Hamburg, often referred to as the Red Shorts

Rückrunde - the second half of the Bundesliga season, Matchdays 18-34

Rückspiel - the second game of a two-legged tie. Usually used when speaking of knock-out competitons but can also describe league encounters

Rückstand - deficit

Schalke famously hit back from 4-0 down to draw with neighbours Dortmund in 2017/18. - 2017 Getty Images


Sahnetag - perfect performance

Sauerbraten - German pot roast - most often beef, but sometimes venison, lamb, mutton, pork or even horse

SC – The prefix for Freiburg which stands for “Sportclub” (literally: sport club)

Schadenfreude - German word meaning pleasure derived from the misfortune of others

Schiedsrichter - referee

Schlenzer - rasping long-range shot

Schlusspfiff - final whistle

Die Schwaben - hailing from Swabia in the south west of Germany, Stuttgart tend to be called the Swabians

Die Schwarz-Gelben - named after their striking black and yellow colours, it's Borussia Dortmund

Scorerpunkte - not to be confused with "goalscorer", this term refers to the combined tally of goals and assists

Sechser - a player who plays the "No. 6" position in midfield, a defensive role in front of the back four

Sieg - victory

Sonntagsschuss - a lovely strike

Spielfeld - pitch

Spielplan - fixture list/schedule

Spitzeln - to toe-poke

SpVgg – The prefix for Greuther Fürth which stands for “Spielvereinigung” (literally: game association)

Stadtrivale - literally translated as 'city rivals' but can also refer to two rival clubs in neighbouring cities, such as Dortmund and Schalke

Stammplatz - regular place in the starting line-up

Standardsituation - dead-ball situation

Stehplätze - terraced

Strafraum - penalty area

SV – The prefix for Werder Bremen which stands for “Sport-Verein” (literally: sport club)


Tabellenführer - league leaders

Teamgeist - team spirit

Tor - goal

Torhüter - goalkeeper

Torjäger - goal-getter

Torjägerkanone - the cannon-shaped prize awarded to the Bundesliga's top scorer at the end of a season

Torschützenkönig - Leading scorer at the end of a season

Torwart - goalkeeper

Traditionsverein - a club rich in history and tradition and a long-time participant and/or champion in the Bundesliga, such as Nürnberg, Gladbach, and Hamburg

Treffer - goal

Tribüne - stand

Trikot - shirt

TSG – The prefix for Hoffenheim which stands for “Turn- und Sportgemeinschaft” (literally: gymnastics and sport community)

Turnier - tournament

Tunneln - to nutmeg

Borussia Mönchengladbach have won five Bundesliga titles since joining the Bundesliga ranks in 1965. - Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images


Übersteiger - stepover

Umkleidekabine - dressing rooms, changing rooms

Unentschieden - draw

Ungedeckt - unmarked, free


Verlängerung - extra-time

Verteidiger - defender

Verwarnung - caution

Vorlage - assist

VfB – The prefix for Stuttgart which stands for 'Verein für Bewegungsspiele' (literally, club for movement games)

VfL – The prefix for Wolfsburg which stands for 'Verein für Leibesübungen' (literally, club for physical exercise)

Vizemeister - runners-up

Vorstopper - centre-back, centre-half


Die Werkself - the Factory Eleven. A reference to pharmaceutical company Bayer AG's creation and ownership of Bayer Leverkusen.


Zehner - a player who plays in the "No. 10" position, an attacking midfielder deployed behind the striker(s)

Zuschauer - spectators

Zu Hause - at home

Zweikampf - tackle/man-on-man tussle

Zweite Liga - informal for Bundesliga 2, Germany's second division

Related news

VIDEO: The German soccer dictionary: Meanings, definitions, translations... | bundesliga.com
News Sport 24/7


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