Borussia Dortmund's club badge includes the Black-Yellows' unmistakable BVB sobriquet. - © © gettyimages
Borussia Dortmund's club badge includes the Black-Yellows' unmistakable BVB sobriquet. - © © gettyimages

BVB, RB Leipzig, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich - what's in a name?

While the Bundesliga is renowned worldwide for its fan-friendly culture, the names of certain clubs can themselves be far less accessible. So if you're struggling to differentiate an a BVB from an RB, fear not, for help is at hand. has trawled the history books and put together this handy guide explaining the roots of some of the more peculiar epithets in German football.

Some clubs, such as VfB Stuttgart and VfL Wolfsburg, may look strange on paper but the underlying reasons are quite straightforward. Verein für Bewegungsspiele (Club for physical games) and Verein für Leibesübungen (Club for physical exercise) are too drawn out, even for German natives to say, hence the need to abbreviate.

The same goes for Turn- und Sportgemeinschaft (Gymnastics and Sports Club) at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Rasenballsport (Club for grass sports) at RB Leipzig, and Sportverein (sports club) at Hamburger SV and SV Werder Bremen.

Watch: RB Leipzig only joined the Bundesliga's elite in summer 2016

- © gettyimages

Germans are traditionally sticklers for accuracy and they're no different when it comes to football. As a general rule of thumb, if you see a '1.' in front of your team's name that's because they want you to know they were the first such club to be founded in their city. Similarly, any other numbers that feature (usually at the end) demonstrate the club's pride in their historical roots by flaunting the year they came into existence.

Take 1. FSV Mainz 05 as an example. The Fussball- und Sportverein (Football and Sports Club) was the first of its kind when established in 1905. So deciphering FC Schalke 04 and Borussia VfL 1900 Mönchengladbach isn't quite the impossible task it first seemed.

At Dortmund, Borussia may originally stem from the Latin word for Prussia, but the club's founders took it from a local brewery. It forms the latter part of BVB, or Ballspiel- Verein Borussia (club for ball games) as the team is commonly referred to nowadays.

Meanwhile, players at some of the Bundesliga's biggest-hitters may be wowing spectators with their on-field attacking creativity, but the sides they represent were originally somewhat less inventive. The Eintracht in Frankfurt and Braunschweig merely means 'united', pharmaceutical giant Bayer gave its name to the side it backs in Leverkusen, while Munich's Bayern translates as 'Bavaria'.

Quiz: How well do you know Bayern Munich? Take the test!

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