James Rodriguez (l.) joined Bayern Munich from Real Madrid in July. What are some of the German terms Robert Lewandowski (r.) - here since 2010 - might be teaching him? - © © gettyimages
James Rodriguez (l.) joined Bayern Munich from Real Madrid in July. What are some of the German terms Robert Lewandowski (r.) - here since 2010 - might be teaching him? - © © gettyimages

The German soccer dictionary: Meanings, definitions, translations...


James Rodriguez has long since mastered the language of football - or is that soccer? – but how is his German coming along? Keep up with the Bayern Munich and Colombia superstar with our handy A-Z below…


















































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Watch: 442oon's take on the Bundesliga dictionary!


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

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


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

- © imago / Jan Huebner


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

Watch: The Bundesliga's new wave of coaches



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

Dribbeln - dribble

Dritte Liga - Germany's third division

Drücken Sie die Daumen! - keep your fingers crossed!

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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. Whether the teams enjoy as much on the pitch is another matter

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 Dortmund and Bayern


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'

Watch: Dortmund's incredible 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


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.

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Innenverteidiger - centre-back


Joker - a substitute who comes on and scores


Manndeckung - man-marking

Mannschaft - team

Mauer - wall

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


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 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, which translates as 'space invader'.

Watch: Müller - the best player in the world without the ball?

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 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


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

Die Schanzer - Nickname for Ingolstadt. The nickname itself is rooted in the city’s history. When Ingolstadt became a fort in 1806 it earned the moniker die Schanz, meaning “entrenched” and deriving from the German word verschanzen, "to fortify". This also explains why some people in Ingolstadt still refer to natives as Schanzer.

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

Scorer - 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

Watch: The Torjägerkanone race has never been boring!

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


Übersteiger - stepover

Umkleidekabine - dressing rooms, changing rooms

Unentschieden - draw

Ungedeckt - unmarked, free


Verlängerung - extra-time

Verteidiger - defender

Verwarnung - caution

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


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

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