Talk about football in German: Useful Fußball vocabulary in Germany

For half of the world, football isn’t just a sport – and German-speaking countries are no exception! The Bundesliga in Germany is the top-tier competition that has some of the world’s most skilled players and most successful teams. Austria and Switzerland also have their best competition named Bundesliga and Super League. This blog post is everything you have to know about football in German.

The German Nationalmannschaft is the national team that is one of the most successful in the history of national football. Football’s importance can’t be overstated enough in these regions. Learn German has an in-depth special video about football vocabulary in German:

1. A history of club football in Germany

Football in Germany has evolved into one of the most admired and closely followed sports since the beginnings in the late 19th century. The Bundesliga was officially founded in 1963. Today, it’s the top competition in Germany and with that, it’s also a very competitive league that has high attendance.

football in german bundesliga logo

The most successful team is Bayern Munich – nicknamed Die Roten (The Reds) – with 33 national titles, 20 domestic cup titles, and some European wins: 6 Champions League titles, 1 UEFA Cup titles, 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup title, 2 European Super Cup titles, 2 Intercontinental Cups and 2 FIFA Club World Cup titles.

Other prominent clubs in the Bundesliga are Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin, and Union Berlin – just to name some of them. They also contributed to the history of German football.

Der Klassiker is the biggest clash in the Bundesliga between twgo of the top-ranked teams: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. This match is often the most important of all if we’re talking about winning the Meisterschale (also called Salatschüssel). The stadiums are always packed with fans from all over the world.

football in german bayern vs dortmund

Austrian Bundesliga

Austria’s Bundesliga has its share of popular clubs like Rapid Wien and FC Red Bull Salzburg – the latter slowly progressing in the European competitions, too. These teams contribute to the Austrian league’s competitive spirit, although they have to admit, football isn’t one of the most important sports and not the main focus olympics in German speaking communities.

Swiss Super League

In Switzerland, the Swiss Super League is the top of national football competitions. Top clubs such as FC Basel and Young Boys have a rich history and are known for their competitive spirit in not only in the Swiss Super League, but also in European competitions.

2. A history of national German football

Germany’s national football team, die Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft, has a storied history full of success.

Germany has won four World Cup titles (1954, 1990, 1974, 2014) and three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996). Although the nation team has faced challenges recently, there’s an an unwavering commitment from the coaches and the players to reach excellence. The nation’s football academies are still popular and doing a great work so they can once again cheer together.

Austria and Switzerland’s national teams have also appeared in international competitions but the most successful of the mentioned three is Germany.

3. German vocabulary for soccer games

German football is synonymous with quality. To talk about one’s favorite team, knowing the German terms for various playing positions can be very useful.

Useful German vocabulary for playing positions

GermanEnglish
Der TorwartGoalkeeper
Der VerteidigerDefender
Der InnenverteidigerCentre-back
Der AußenverteidigerFull-back
Der RechtsverteidigerRight full-back
Der LinksverteidigerLeft full-back
Der MittelfeldspielerMidfielder
Der Zentrale MittelfeldspielerCentral midfielder
Der Defensiver MittelfeldspielerDefensive midfielder
Der Offensiver MittelfeldspielerAttacking midfielder
Der FlügelspielerWinger
Der RechtsaußenRight winger
Der LinksaußenLeft winger
Der StürmerForward
Der MittelstürmerCentre forward
Der AngreiferStriker
Der KapitänCaptain
Die ErsatzspielerSubstitutes / Bench

If you want to explore these essential German phrases in real-life conversation, check this role-playing scenario:

George: Unser Torwart ist heute in Topform. (Our goalkeeper is in top form today.)
Rafael: Absolut, und der Innenverteidiger spielt auch stark. (Absolutely, and the centre-back is also playing strong.)
George: Unsere Flügelspieler setzen den Stürmer gut in Szene. (Our wingers are showcasing the forward well.)
Rafael: Hoffentlich bringt der Kapitän uns den Sieg. (Hopefully, the captain brings us the victory.)

Pay attention to this conversation and examine whether it uses chunks. What are chunks? Chunks are word combinations with a specific meaning that are almost always used together as building blocks in the language and that you don’t even think about as separate words – this is why native speakers use them all the time without remembering grammar definitions and explanations. You too, can learn about chunks and use them when you start practicing German sentences.

4. Talk about your favorite European football team in German

For fans and players alike, understanding football vocabulary in German can make your experience of the game better. This knowledge lets you share your passion for the sport with others.

Talk about your favorite team with these German phrases

GermanEnglish
TorGoal
SchiedsrichterReferee
AbseitsOffside
VerlängerungExtra time
ElfmeterPenalty
EckballCorner kick
FreistoßFree kick
EinwurfThrow-in
Gelbe/Rote KarteYellow/Red card
AnstoßKick-off
FlankeCross
KopfballHeader
TacklingTackle
SpielfeldPitch/Field
MannschaftTeam
AuswechslungSubstitution
TrainerCoach/Manager
AngriffAttack
VerteidigungDefense
MeisterschaftChampionship
LigaLeague
SpielzugPlay
PassPass
SiegVictory
NiederlageDefeat
UnentschiedenDraw
ZuschauerSpectator
FoulFoul
HeimmannschaftHome team
AuswärtsmannschaftAway team
SchussShot
TorlinieGoal line
SeitenausOut of bounds
PfeifeWhistle

Let’s take a look at a real conversation with these phrases:

Benjamin: Siehst du den Schiedsrichter? Er hat gerade Abseits gepfiffen. (See the referee? He just called offside.)
Hans: Ja, und jetzt gibt es einen Freistoß für die Heimmannschaft. (Yes, and now there’s a free kick for the home team. )
Benjamin: Diese Mannschaft macht heute viele Spielzüge. Das war ein toller Kopfball! (This team is making a lot of plays today. That was a great header! )
Hans: Ein Elfmeter könnte das Spiel entscheiden. Es steht immer noch Unentschieden. (A penalty could decide the game. It’s still a draw.)

5. Speak about the high quality German football world

Describing the moments that define a football match in German adds a layer of excitement for those watching—whether it’s a stunning goal or a dramatic save, these are the best phrases you can use!

Phrases you can use during the match

GermanEnglish
Das Tor!The goal!
Was für ein Spielzug!What a play!
Unfassbarer Schuss!Unbelievable shot!
Rettung in letzter Sekunde!Last-second save!
Er geht, er schießt – Tor!He goes, he shoots – goal!
Kopfballtor!Header goal!
Glanzparade des Torwarts!Spectacular save by the goalkeeper!
Das war knapp!That was close!
Abseitspfiff!Offside call!
Die Spannung steigt!The tension is rising!
Eine gelbe Karte!A yellow card!
Direkt ins Eck!Right into the corner!
Einwechslung.Substitution.
Um ein Haar!By a hair’s breadth!
Tor nach Eckball!Goal from a corner kick!
Ein grober Fehler!A gross mistake!
Ein brillanter Durchbruch!A brilliant breakthrough!
Er hat den Ball!He has the ball!
Der Pfosten rettet!The post saves!
Die Menge tobt!The crowd goes wild!
Die Verteidigung steht!The defense holds!
Das Spiel ist aus!The game is over!

6. Learn more about Die Mannschaft in Germany with Conversation Based Chunking

By integrating vocabulary and phrases learned throughout the article, you can get deeper into the high-quality world of German football. Conversation Based Chunking method can be effective to learn these terms in context.

For detailed information about Conversation Based Chunking and how to apply it to learning German football terms, you can explore our online resources with a 12-week program, a chunking list and an access to our full practice worksheet library.

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