Current Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart has has produced many memorable quotes. - © Imago
Current Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart has has produced many memorable quotes. - © Imago
60 years of Bundesliga

The best quotes from 60 years of the Bundesliga


The sheer emotion of football is captured so well in the frequent interviews players or coaches give, and the Bundesliga has seen a few cracking lines in its 60 years of existence.

Football and microphones are a strange combination at times. When the adrenaline is still flowing straight after the match and the joy of victory or despair of defeat is kicking in, it is no surprise that footballers utter their fair share of quirky lines to interviewers eager to transmit the emotion of it all to viewers' living rooms.  

When it comes to the Bundesliga, there were a lot of gems from the 1990s and first years of the new century, as subscription TV services ramped up their coverage of the league, and demand for interviews spiraled. In those days, players generally hadn't received the kind of media training they get now, and were often happy to speak their mind - with the result certainly entertaining at times. Footballers could certainly be depended upon for the occasional memorable saying before or since too. We have picked out a few of the best from the German game:

Felix Magath had a unique coaching style that one of his players put into words with a Titanic metaphor, but it worked wonders in helping Bayern to two Bundesliga titles and Wolfsburg to the 2008/09 crown. - imago sportfotodienst

  • "I don't know if Felix Magath could have rescued the Titanic, but he would have made sure the survivors were top fit." - Jan-Aage Fjörtoft of Eintracht Frankfurt on Felix Magath, a coach known for his extremely demanding physical training
  • "I don't want to have a statue. That would just be for the pigeons to poo on." - Toni Polster, charismatic former Cologne striker
  • "We didn't have any luck to begin with, and then we had some misfortune." - Jürgen Wegmann, former Schalke, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund striker
  • "We can't bury the sand in our heads now." - Lothar Matthäus, former Bayern captain and Bundesliga Legend
  • "Whether it's Milan or Madrid doesn't matter, the main thing is that I'll be going to Italy!" - Andreas Möller, former Frankfurt, Dortmund and Schalke striker

Lukas Podolski went into the kebab business in 2019 but is remembered for his prolific playing days - and entertaining sayings. - imago/Eibner

Podolski wisdom

Lukas Podolski is still a very popular figure in Cologne. The striker, capped an incredible 130 times for Germany (scoring 49 goals), has earned plenty of appreciation across the country too for his succinct, cheerful - and sometimes unintentionally witty - quotes. Here are some of the best:

  • "We need to really roll up our heads now. Our sleeves too, of course." 
  • "That's football. Sometimes the better team wins."
  • "It's tough when every ball that goes in is a goal." 
  • "Love for football is like the love for your family or your wife. It's always there."
  • "Football is simple. Stick the ball in the net and off you go back home."

1954 World Cup-winning coach Sepp Herberger is a legend of the German football history who played a big role in shaping its discourse. - imago images / Rust

Sepp's sayings

The late Sepp Herberger has somewhat of the status of a wise grandfather of German football. While coaching the  national team to their legendary first World Cup win in Switzerland in 1954 he uttered many sayings related to his simple and focused football philosophy that became very well known and are still used in general German football parlance:  

  • "Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel" - After the match is before the match, meaning a team should always focus on the next match regardless of their most recent result
  • "Elf Freunde müsst ihr sein" - You have to be eleven friends on the pitch.
  • "Das nächste Spiel ist immer das schwerste" - The next match is always the most difficult one.
  • "Der schnellste Spieler ist der Ball" - The fastest player is the ball.

Other legendary coaches have produced their fair share of brilliant one-liners too. Former Bayern coach Giovanni Trapattoni will forever be remembered in Germany for his lively and inaccurate use of the German language. He once said:

  • "Football is about ding, dang and dong. It's not just about the ding."

His famous rant of "Ich habe fertig" - I'm done - is also now a commonly used phrase among football fans.

It isn't just foreign coaches that have caused heads to scratch at times, with Otto Rehhagel, who won three Bundesliga titles at Werder Bremen and Kaiserslautern, saying:

  • "Sometimes you lose, and sometimes the other team wins."

Giovanni Trapattoni coached Bayern Munich to the 1996/97 Bundesliga title and is remembered fondly for his unique communication style. - imago/Team 2

The German Academy for Football Culture has recognised the valuable place of football sayings in the German language by awarding a prize for the Football Saying of the Year since 2006. Some of the winners have included:

  • 2006: "That's football. Sometimes the better team wins." (Lukas Podolski)
  • 2007: "So often football ends up always being the same." (Hans Meyer)
  • 2008: "We were only training on our strengths, which is why we finished the session after 15 minutes today.“ (Josef Hickersberger)
  • 2011: "I think we have a grandios Saison gespielt!" (Roman Weidenfeller after winning the title)
  • 2013: "Left is a lot like right, apart from it's on the other side." (Patrick Funk)
  • 2015: "Visiting Munich is like going to the dentist. Everyone has to do it, but it can be fairly painful. Sometimes you get off lightly." (Sebastian Prödl)
  • 2016: "I offered the referee's assistant my glasses, but he didn't see those either." (Peter Stöger)
  • 2020: "Anyone who doesn't take points against Hamburg shouldn't try to pin that on a refugee who has never done any harm to anyone, but should look at their own mistakes instead." (Daniel Thioune after allegations about the identity of Hamburg's Bakery Jatta caused several clubs to lodge protests about results)
  • 2021: "The game isn't over until the referee blows his whistle and I stop shouting." (Steffen Baumgart)
  • 2022: "Women's football or men's is all one football." (Lena Oberdorf)

Watch: Baumgart screaming at his TV and phone when forced to watch a game from home

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