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Why wouldn't you want to speak German? After all, it's the language of the world champions. - © © gettyimages / Griffiths
Why wouldn't you want to speak German? After all, it's the language of the world champions. - © © gettyimages / Griffiths

The Bundesliga Dictionary


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

Rest easy because bundesliga.com 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

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

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-Württemberg derby - 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/Betze - popular name for 1. FC 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

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 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


Cannstatter Kurve - 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 München's ill-fated 2012 UEFA Champions League final on home turf against Chelsea FC

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 München


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

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

Freundschaftsspiel - friendly game

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

Gegenpressing - A high-pressing style of football to regain possession pioneered by Ralf Rangnick at FC Schalke 04 and Jürgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund in the early years of this decade.

Gegner - opponent

Die Gelbe Wand - Borussia Dortmund's iconic South Stand, literally 'the Yellow Wall'

Gesperrt - suspended

die Grün-Weißen - if it's green and white, it's probably the men from the river Weser: SV Werder Bremen

Gelsenkirchen - the industrial city in North Rhine-Westphalia from which FC Schalke 04 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.


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 (locally referred to as Fassnacht)

Karte - card or match ticket

Kiezkicker - a nickname for FC St. Pauli, derived from the St. Pauli neighbourhood of Hamburg in which the club is based

Kraichgauer - a nickname for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, derived from the Kraichgau region where the club is based

Der Klassiker - German football's 'classic' between FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund.

Die Kleeblätter - the Clover Leaves: the luckiest of charms and SpVgg Greuther Fürth's logo of choice

Knipser - goal-getter

Kohlenpott - literally 'coal pot' - the industrial Ruhr region, famous for mining, Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 being its most-known representatives

Die Königsblauen - FC 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 FC Schalke 04's famed youth academy. The word Schmied means 'forge', with the name itself a pun on Schalke's mining traditions


Latte - crossbar

Länderspiel - international match

Leo - what players say to one another on the pitch if they want a team-mate to let the ball run

Die Lilien - 2015/16 Bundesliga new boys SV Darmstadt 98 are known as 'the Lilies'.

Linienrichter - linesman

Die Löwen - TSV 1860 Munich and Eintracht Braunschweig are nicknamed 'The Lions'.

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

Raumdeuter - A term used by Thomas Müller to describe his unique style of play, which translates as 'space invader'.

Regionalliga - the fourth tier of German football, split into 'Bavaria', 'North', 'South West', 'West' and 'North East'

der Rekordmeister - 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 describe league encounters

Rückstand - deficit


Sauerbraten - German pot roast - most often beef, but sometimes venison, lamb, mutton, pork or even horse

Schadenfreude - German word meaning pleasure derived from the misfortune of others

Die Schanzer - Nickname for FC Ingolstadt 04. 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, 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/schedule

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

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

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 - informal for Bundesliga 2, Germany's second division