Soccer Vocabulary - German-English - Fussball-Lexikon

Annotated Sports Glossary for German Fussball (Soccer)

Soccer is football (fussball) in German-speaking countries. Europeans are passionate about the professional sport. These terms are likely to crop up during daily conversation. Like soccer in America, it is also played in school and as a recreational sport. Here is a German-English glossary of terms you will hear and read relating to the sport.

Football (Soccer) Vocabulary - Fussball-Lexikon

  • Noun genders indicated by: r (der, masc.), e (die, fem.), s (das, neu.)
  • Abbreviations: adj. (adjective), n. (noun), pl. (plural), sing. (singular), sl. (slang), v. (verb)


r Abstieg relegation, moving down

abseits (adj.) offside

e Abwehr defense

e Ampelkarte "traffic light" card (yellow/red)

r Angreifer attacker, forward

r Angriff attack, offensive move

r Anhänger (-) fan(s), follower(s), devotee(s)

r Anstoß kickoff
   Welche Mannschaft hat Anstoß? Which team/side will kick off?

e Aufstellung lineup, roster

r Aufstieg promotion, moving up

r Ausgleich tie, draw
   unentschieden (adj.) tied, a draw (undecided)

auswärts, zu Besuch away, on the road
   zu Hause at home, home game

s Auswärtsspiel away game
   s Heimspiel home game
   zu Hause at home, home game

s Auswärtstor goal scored in an away game

auswechseln (v.) substitute, switch (players)


r Ball (Bälle) ball

e Bank bench
   auf der Bank sitzen sit on the bench

s Bein leg

bolzen (v.) to kick the ball (around)

r Bolzplatz (-plätze) amateur football/soccer field

r Bombenschuss a difficult shot, usually from a long distance

e Bundesliga German professional soccer league


r DFB (Deutscher Fußballbund) German Football (Soccer) Federation

r Doppelpass one-two pass, give and go pass

s Dribbling dribbling

e Drittkette/Dreierkette straight three-man backfield (free-kick defense)
   e Viertkette/Viererkette four-man backfield defense


r Eckball corner ball (kick)
e Ecke corner (kick)
r Eckstoß corner kick

r Einwurf throw-in, toss

e Elf the eleven (players), soccer team

r Elfmeter penalty kick (from eleven meters) . The Peter Handke novel Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter (1970) was filmed by director Wim Wenders in 1972. The English title is The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick.

e Endlinie endline, goal line

r Europameister European champion
e Europameisterschaft European championship


e Fahne (-n) flag, banner

r Fallrückzieher bicycle kick, scissors kick . A Fallrückzieher is an acrobatic goal shot in which a player flips and kicks the ball backward over his own head.

fäusten to punch (the ball)

fechten to parry (the ball)

s Feld field, pitch

FIFA International Football (Soccer) Federation

  • FIFA was founded in 1904 in Paris. Today its headquarters are in Zurich.

e Flanke cross, center (e.g., into the penalty area)

r Flugkopfball diving header
   r Kopfball, r Kopfstoß header shot

r Freistoß free kick

r Fußball football, soccer; soccer ball
e Fußballmannschaft football/soccer team

r Fußballschuh (-e) soccer shoe

s Fußballstadion (-stadien) soccer stadium


e Gäste (pl.) visiting team
   s Heim home team

r Gegner (-) opponent, opposing team

gelbe Karte caution, yellow card (for foul)

gewinnen (v.) to win
   verlieren to lose

e Grätsche sliding trip, straddle vault
grätschen (v.) to straddle, tackle, trip (often a foul)


e Halbzeit halftime
e Halbzeitpause halftime break (15 minutes)

e Hälfte half
   erste Hälfte first half
   zweite Hälfte second half

halten to save (keeper)
   gut halten to make a good save

s Heim home (team)
   e Gäste (pl.) visiting team

e Heimmannschaft home team

r Hexenkessel an unfriendly stadium ("witch's cauldron"), usually the opponent's home stadium

e Hinrunde/s Hinspiel first round/leg
   e Rückrunde/s Rückspiel second round/leg

r Hooligan (-s) hooligan, rowdy


r Joker (sl.) sub who comes in and scores goals


r Kaiser "the emperor" (nickname for Franz Beckenbauer, Kaiser Franz)

r Kick kick (soccer/football)

r Kicker soccer player

  • The noun der Kicker/die Kickerin in German refers to a soccer/football player, not just someone playing the position of "kicker."
  • The verb "to kick" can take several forms in German (bolzen, treten, schlagen). The verb kicken is usually limited to sports.

r Konter counterattack, counteroffensive


r Leitwolf "lead wolf," a player who inspires the team

r Libero sweeper

r Linienrichter linesman


e Manndeckung one-on-one coverage, man coverage

e Mannschaft team

e Mauer defensive wall (of players) during a free kick

mauern (v.) to form a defensive wall; to defend aggressively

e Meisterschaft championship

s Mittelfeld midfield

r Mittelfeldspieler midfielder


e Nationalmannschaft national team
e Nationalelf national team (of eleven)


r Pass pass

r Platzverweis ejection, expulsion

r Pokal (-e) cup (trophy)


e Qualifikation qualification (round), qualifying

r Querpass lateral/crossfield pass


e Rangliste the rankings

r Rauswurf ejection

s Remis tie game, draw
   unentschieden tied, a draw (undecided)

e Reserven (pl.) reserve players

rote Karte red card (for foul)

e Rückgabe return pass

e Rückrunde/s Rückspiel second round/leg
   e Hinrunde/s Hinspiel first round/leg


r Schiedsrichter referee
   r Schiri (sl.) "ref," referee

r Schienbeinschutz shinguard, shinpad

schießen (v.) to shoot (ball)
   ein Tor schießen to score a goal

r Schiri (sl.) "ref," referee

r Schlussmann (sl.) goalkeeper

r Schuss shot (at goal)

e Schwalbe (sl., lit. "swallow") a deliberate dive to draw a penalty (automatic red card in the Bundesliga)

e Seitenlinie sideline, touchline

siegen (v.) to win, be victorious
   verlieren to lose

r Sonntagsschuss a difficult shot, usually made from a long distance

s Spiel game

r Spieler player (m.)
e Spielerin player (f.)

r Spike (-s) spike (on shoe)

e Spitze forward (usually a striker out front)

s Stadion (Stadien) stadium

r Stand score, standings

r Stollen (-) stud, cleat (on shoe)

r Strafpunkt penalty point

r Strafraum penalty area, penalty box

r Strafstoß penalty kick
   r Elfmeter penalty kick

r Stürmer forward, striker ("stormer")


e Taktik tactics

r Techniker (sl.) technician, i.e., a player who is very talented with the ball

s Tor goal (net); a scored goal
   e Latte crossbar
   s Netz net
   r Pfosten post

r Torhüter goalkeeper, goalie

r Torjäger goal scorer (who scores often) . Gerd Müller, who played with Bayern München, is the German recordholder as Torjäger. In the 1972 season he scored 40 goals, setting a new record and earning him the nickname der Bomber der Nation ("the nation's bomber").

r Torschuss goalkick

r Torschützenkönig leading goalscorer ("goal king")

r Torwart goalkeeper, goalie

r Trainer coach, trainer

trainieren (v.) practice, train, work out

r Treffer goal, hit

treten (v.) to kick
   eine Ecke treten to make a corner kick
   Er hat ihm an das Schienbein getreten. He kicked him in the shin.
   jemanden treten to kick someone


UEFA European Football (Soccer) Association (founded 1954)

unbesiegt undefeated

unentschieden (adj.) tied, a draw (undecided)


r Verein club (soccer, football)

verletzt (adj.) injured

e Verletzung injury

verlieren (verlor, verloren) to lose
  We lost (the game).  Wir haben (das Spiel) verloren.

r Verteidiger defender

e Verteidigung defense

verweisen (v.) eject, throw out (of game)
   den Spieler vom Platz verweisen throw a player off the field

s Viertelfinale quarter finals

e Viertkette/Viererkette straight four-man backfield (free-kick defense)
   e Drittkette/Dreierkette three-man backfield defense

r Vorstand board, directorship (of club/team)

vorwärts/rückwärts forwards/backwards


wechseln (v.) substitute
   auswechseln substitute out
   einwechseln substitute in

r Weltmeister world champion

e Weltmeisterschaft world championship, world cup

r Weltpokal world cup

e Wertung point awards, scoring

e WM (e Weltmeisterschaft) world championship, world cup

das Wunder von Bern the miracle of Berne
   The story of Germany’s “miracle” win in the 1954 WM (World Cup) played in Bern, Switzerland was made into a German movie in 2003. It's available on DVD.


zu Besuch, auswärts on the road
zu Hause at home, home game

e Zuschauer (pl.) spectators
   s Publikum fans, spectators