Soccer Vocabulary: A German-English Dictionary

German Glossary of Common Soccer Terms

German national anthem
German soccer fans sing the national anthem at the 2014 World Cup.

Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images

The sport known as soccer in the U.S. is called football (fussball) in German-speaking countries and in most of the world. Europeans are passionate about the professional sport and it's also played in school and as a recreational sport. This means that if you're in a German-speaking country, you'll want to know how to talk about fussball.

To help you learn the German words for the most common fussball terms, here is a German-English glossary for you to study.

Football Vocabulary (Fussball-Lexikon)

In order to use this soccer glossary, you'll need to know a few abbreviations. You'll also find helpful annotations scattered throughout that are useful for understanding aspects particular to the sport and Germany.

  • 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
Welche Mannschaft hat Anstoß?
Which team/side will kick off?
e Aufstellung lineup, roster
r Aufstieg promotion, moving up
r Ausgleich
unentschieden (adj.)
tie, draw
tied, a draw (undecided)
auswärts, zu Besuch
zu Hause
away, on the road
at home, home game
s Auswärtsspiel
s Heimspiel
zu Hause
away game
home game
at home, home game
s Auswärtstor goal scored in an away game
auswechseln (v.) substitute, switch (players)


r Ball (Bälle) ball
e Bank
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
e Viertkette/Viererkette
straight three-man backfield (free-kick defense)
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)
e Endlinie endline goal line
r Europameister European champion
e Europameisterschaft European championship


e Fahne (-n) flag, banner
r Fallrückzieher bicycle kick, scissors kick (Note: 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
e Flanke cross, center (e.g., into the penalty area)
r Flugkopfball
r Kopfball, r Kopfstoß
diving header
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.)
s Heim
visiting team
home team
r Gegner (-) opponent, opposing team
gelbe Karte caution, yellow card (for foul)
gewinnen (v.)
to win
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
erste Hälfte
zweite Hälfte
first half
second half
gut halten
to save (keeper)
to make a good save
s Heim
e Gäste (pl.)
home (team)
visiting team
e Heimmannschaft home team
r Hexenkessel an unfriendly stadium ("witch's cauldron"), usually the opponent's home stadium
e Hinrunde/s Hinspiel
e Rückrunde/s Rückspiel
first round/leg
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
r Konter counterattack, counteroffensive

Note: 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 (bolzentretenschlagen). The verb kicken is usually limited to sports.


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
tied, a draw (undecided)
e Reserven (pl.) reserve players
rote Karte red card (for foul)
e Rückgabe return pass
e Rückrunde/s Rückspiel
e Hinrunde/s Hinspiel
second round/leg
first round/leg


r Schiedsrichter
r Schiri (sl.)
"ref," referee
r Schienbeinschutz shinguard, shinpad
schießen (v.)
ein Tor schießen
to shoot (ball)
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
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 a shoe)
e Spitze forward (usually a striker out front)
s Stadion (Stadien) stadium
r Stand score, standings
r Stollen (-) stud, cleat (on a shoe)
r Strafpunkt penalty point
r Strafraum penalty area, penalty box
r Strafstoß
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
e Latte
s Netz
r Pfosten
(net); a scored goal
r Torhüter goalkeeper, goalie
r Torjäger goal scorer (who scores often)
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.)
eine Ecke treten
Er hat ihm an das Schienbein getreten.
jemanden treten
to kick
to make a corner kick
He kicked him in the shin.
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)
Wir haben (das Spiel) verloren.
to lose
We lost (the game).
r Verteidiger defender
e Verteidigung defense
verweisen (v.)
den Spieler vom Platz verweisen
eject, throw out (of game)
throw a player off the field
s Viertelfinale quarter finals
e Viertkette/Viererkette straight four-man backfield (free-kick defense)
r Vorstand board, directorship (of club/team)
vorwärts/rückwärts forwards/backwards


wechseln (v.)
substitute out
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

Note: 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. The title is "Das Wunder von Bern" ("The Miracle of Bern").


zu Besuch, auswärts on the road
zu Hause at home, home game
e Zuschauer (pl.)
s Publikum
fans, spectators
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Flippo, Hyde. "Soccer Vocabulary: A German-English Dictionary." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Flippo, Hyde. (2020, August 27). Soccer Vocabulary: A German-English Dictionary. Retrieved from Flippo, Hyde. "Soccer Vocabulary: A German-English Dictionary." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).