presented-by GolTV
Bundesliga Bundesliga 2


back Bundesliga

The Bundesliga A-Z

  • FC Bayern Munich's Pep Guardiola shows off the record champions' 23rd Bundesliga crown in 2014
  • Robert Lewandowski clutches the famous Bundesliga shield, known in Germany as the Meisterschale, after Dortmund's second successive success in 2011/12
  • 'Die Rothosen' or 'Red shorts' - Hamburger SV
  • Bundesliga royalty: FC Schalke 04, known locally as 'die Knappen'
  • Berti Vogts (l.) was an integral member of the Borussia Mönchengladbach 'Foals', who reached the 1977 European Cup final
  • There were no home comforts for FC Bayern Munich in the 'Finale dahoam' in May 2012
  • The 'Revierderby': the meeting of heavyweight Ruhr district neighbours Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund
  • Borussia Dortmund's famous yellow wall played it's part as 'the Yellow-Blacks' lifted back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012

Not sure if you know your Aufstieg from your Abstieg or your Schwarz-Gelben from your Grün-Weißen?

Rest easy - is here to help with this handy A-Z of German football terms.


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.


Abseits - offside
Abstaubertor - poacher's goal
Abstieg - relegation
Abstiegszone - relegation zone
Abwehr - defence
Abwehrreihe - back line, or back four
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/wide attacking midfielder
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.


Baden-Württembergderby - A derby game contested by clubs from the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg, such as SC Freiburg, 1899 Hoffenheim or Karlsruher SC (Baden) and VfB Stuttgart or VfR Aalen (Württemberg)
Ballbesitz - possession
Bananenflanke - curler, in-/ outswinger (cross); banana ball
Bank - substitutes' bench
Beinschuss - nutmeg
Betzenberg - popular name for 1. FC Kaiserslautern's Fritz-Walter-Stadion, so-called due to its location on the Betzenberg Hill.
Bokelberkstadion - the former home of Borussia Mönchengladbach, until the Foals moved into the Borussia Park at the beginning of the 2004/05 season
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 Szalai, who celebrated as if they were a rock band when they scored during the 2010/11 season. Bruchweg was the former name of Mainz's stadium.
Bundestrainer - the title given to the coach of the German 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


Cannstatter Kürve - the home fans' main stand at VfB Stuttgart's Mercedes-Benz-Arena
der Club - a succinct alternative for 1. FC Nürnberg (1st Football Club Nuremberg)
Coachingzone - technical area


Dahoam - often used in the phrase 'Finale Dahoam', literally 'home final', which refers to FC Bayern's ill-fated 2012 Champions League final on home turf against Chelsea
Dauerkarte - season ticket
Dinos - nickname for Hamburger SV - 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
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
Einwurf - throw-in
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 Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich


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
Feldverweis - sending off
Flanke - cross
die Flingeraner - a tribute to Fortuna Düsseldorf's 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
Freistoß - free kick
Freundschaft - friendship
die Fuggerstädter - a quirky option for FC 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


Gastgeber - hosts
Gegner - opponent
die Gelbe Wand - Borussia Dortmund's iconic South Stand
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 FC Schalke 04
Grätsche - sliding tackle


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
Holz - woodwork
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.


Innenverteidiger - centre-back


Joker - a substitute who comes on and scores


Kader - squad
Karnevalsverein - 1. FSV Mainz 05, a club whose city springs to life during the annual carnival
Karte - card or match ticket
Kiezkicker - a nickname for FC St Pauli Hamburg, derived from the St. Pauli neighborhood of the city in which the club is based
Kraichgauer - a nickname for 1899 Hoffenheim, derived from the Kraichgau region near to where the club is based
der Klassiker - German football's 'classic' between FC Bayern and Dortmund.
die Kleeblätter - the Clover Leaves: the luckiest of charms and Greuther Fürth's logo of choice
Knipser - goal-getter
Kohlenpott - literally 'coal pot' - the industrial Ruhr region, famous for mining, shared by local clubs Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04.
die Königsblauen - Schalke 04, aptly named because of their royal blue shirts
Kopfball - header
die Knappen - the Miners: a less-commonly used nickname for FC Schalke 04, a fans' club with its roots in the industrial Ruhr district
die Knappenschmiede - the name given to Schalke's famed youth academy. The word Schmied means 'forge', with the name itself a pun on Schalke's mining traditions
die Kraichgauer - the hilly region of Baden-Württemberg from which 1899 Hoffenheim hail.


Latte - bar
Länderspiel - international match
Leo - what players say to one another on the pitch if they want a team-mate to let the ball run
Linienrichter - linesman
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' - FC Bayern München's club motto as said in local dialect, meaning 'we are who we are'
Mittelkreis - centre circle
Mittellinie - halfway line


Nachspielzeit - additional/stoppage/extra time
die Nationalmannschaft - the German national football team
die Nationalelf - the national team, literally 'the National Eleven'
Neuzugang - new signing
Niederlage - defeat
die Nullfünfer - the 05ers or 1. FSV Mainz 05, founded in 1905
Nord-Süd Duell - literally translated as the north-south duel, this phrase is used as a label for the fixture Bayern München vs. Hamburger SV, traditionally one of German football's biggest matches
Nordderby - the term used for the derby played between northern giants and rivals SV Werder Bremen and Hamburger SV


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


Raumdeckung - zonal marking
Regionalliga - the fourth tier of German football, split into 'Bavaria', 'North', 'South West', 'West' and 'North East'
der Rekordmeister - Germany's record champions, FC Bayern München
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
Revierderby - the name typically given to the derby between regional neighbours FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund.
die Rothosen - Hamburger SV, 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 describbe league encounters
Rückstand - deficit


Sauerbraten - German pot roast - most often beef, but sometimes venison, lamb, mutton, pork or even horse
Schadenfreude - German language word meaning pleasure derived from the misfortune of others
Schere - scissor kick
Schiedsrichter - referee
Schlenzer - rasping long-range shot
Schlusspfiff - final whistle
die Schwaben - hailing from Swabia in the south west of Germany, VfB Stuttgart tend to be called the Swabians
die Schwarz-Gelben - named after their striking black and yellow colours, it's Borussia Dortmund
Scorer - not to be confused with 'goalscorer', this term refers to the combined tally of goals and assists
Sechser - a player who plays the 'No6' position in midfield, a defensive role in front of the back four
Sieg - victory
Sonntagsschuss - a lovely strike
Spielfeld - pitch
Spielplan - fixture list
spitzeln - to toe-poke
Stadtrivale - literally translated as 'city rivals' but can also refer to two rival clubs in neighbouring cities, such as Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04
Stammplatz - regular place in the starting line-up
Standardsituation - dead-ball situation
Stehplätze - terraced
Strafraum - penalty area


Tabellenführer - league leaders
Teamgeist - team spirit
Tiki-taka - a style of football involving short passing and constant movement where retaining possession is the means by which a game is won. Popularised by the Spanish national team in recent seasons, and by Barcelona under previous coach Pep Guardiola, now at FC Bayern
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
Torraum - six-yard box
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 1. FC Nürnberg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Hamburger SV
Treffer - goal
Tribüne - stand
Trikot - shirt
Turnier - tournament
tunneln - to nutmeg


Übersteiger - stepover
Umkleidekabine - dressing rooms, changing rooms
Unentschieden - draw
ungedeckt - unmarked, free


Verlängerung - extra-time
Verteidiger - defender
Verwarnung - caution
Vizemeister - runners-up
Vorstopper - centre-back, centre-half


Weitschuss - long-distance shot
die Werkself - Bayer 04 Leverkusen or the Factory Workers: the factory being Bayer AG, the pharmaceutical company where it all began for the north-west club
Wiesn - Bavarian for Oktoberfest. Wiesn is German dialect for 'meadow', namely the Theresienwiese or 'Therese's Meadow' upon which the world's largest beer festival is held.
Winterpause - the Bundesliga's mid-season winter break, normally lasting from late December to early February.
die Wölfe - untangle VfL Wolfsburg, and you get the Wolves
Wunderkind - wonderkid




Zehner - a player who plays in the 'No10' position, an attacking midfielder deployed behind the striker(s)
Zuschauer - spectators
zu Hause - at home
Zweikampf - tackle/man-on-man tussle
Zweite Liga - second division, Bundesliga 2