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 Abwehrdefense
e Ampelkarte"traffic light" card (yellow/red)
r Angreifer attacker, forward
r Angriffattack, offensive move
r Anhängerfan(s), follower(s), devotee(s)
r Anstoß 
  Welche Mannschaft hat Anstoß?
  Which team/side will kick off?
e Aufstellunglineup, roster
r Aufstiegpromotion, 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 Auswärtstorgoal 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 Beinleg
bolzen (v.)to kick the ball (around)
r Bolzplatz (-plätze)amateur football/soccer field
r Bombenschussa difficult shot, usually from a long distance
e BundesligaGerman professional soccer league


r DFB (Deutscher Fußballbund)German Football (Soccer) Federation
r Doppelpassone-two pass, give and go pass
s Dribblingdribbling
e Drittkette/Dreierkette
  e Viertkette/Viererkette
straight three-man backfield (free-kick defense)
four-man backfield defense


r Eckballcorner ball (kick)
e Eckecorner (kick)
r Eckstoßcorner kick
r Einwurfthrow-in, toss
e Elf the eleven (players), soccer team
r Elfmeterpenalty 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 endlinegoal line
r EuropameisterEuropean champion
e EuropameisterschaftEuropean championship


e Fahne (-n) flag, banner
r Fallrückzieherbicycle kick, scissors kick 
A Fallrückzieher is an acrobatic goal shot in which a player flips and kicks the ball backward over his own head.
fäustento punch (the ball)
fechtento parry (the ball)
s Feldfield, pitch
FIFAInternational Football (Soccer) Federation

FIFA was founded in 1904 in Paris. It is headquartered today are in Zurich, Switzerland.

e Flankecross, center (e.g., into the penalty area)
r Flugkopfball
  r Kopfball,  r Kopfstoß
diving header
  header shot
r Freistoßfree kick
r Fußball football, soccer; soccer ball
e Fußballmannschaftfootball/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 Kartecaution, yellow card (for foul)
gewinnen (v.)
to win
  to lose
e Grätschesliding trip, straddle vault
grätschen (v.)to straddle, tackle, trip (often a foul)


e Halbzeithalftime
e Halbzeitpausehalftime 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 Heimmannschafthome team
r Hexenkesselan 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 Kickkick (soccer/football)
r Kickersoccer 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 Liberosweeper
r Linienrichterlinesman


e Manndeckungone-on-one coverage, man coverage
e Mannschaftteam
e Mauerdefensive wall (of players) during a free kick
mauern (v.)to form a defensive wall; to defend aggressively
e Meisterschaftchampionship
s Mittelfeldmidfield
r Mittelfeldspielermidfielder


e Nationalmannschaftnational team
e Nationalelfnational team (of eleven)


r Passpass
r Platzverweisejection, expulsion
r Pokal (-e)cup (trophy)


e Qualifikationqualification (round), qualifying
r Querpasslateral/crossfield pass


e Ranglistethe rankings
r Rauswurfejection
s Remis
tie game, draw
  tied, a draw (undecided)
e Reserven (pl.)reserve players
rote Kartered card (for foul)
e Rückgabereturn pass
e Rückrunde/s Rückspiel 
  e Hinrunde/s Hinspiel
second round/leg
  first round/leg


r Schiedsrichter
  r Schiri (sl.)
  "ref," referee
r Schienbeinschutzshinguard, shinpad
schießen (v.) 
  ein Tor schießen
to shoot (ball)
  to score a goal
r Schiri (sl.) "ref," referee
r Schlussmann (sl.)goalkeeper
r Schussshot (at goal)
e Schwalbe (sl., lit. "swallow")a deliberate dive to draw a penalty (automatic red card in the Bundesliga)
e Seitenliniesideline, touchline
siegen (v.)
to win, be victorious
  to lose
r Sonntagsschussa difficult shot, usually made from a long distance
s Spielgame
r Spieler player (m.)
e Spielerinplayer (f.)
r Spike (-s)spike (on a shoe)
e Spitzeforward (usually a striker out front)
s Stadion (Stadien)stadium
r Standscore, standings
r Stollen (-)stud, cleat (on a shoe)
r Strafpunktpenalty point
r Strafraum penalty area, penalty box
r Strafstoß 
  r Elfmeter 
penalty kick
r Stürmer forward, striker ("stormer")


e Taktiktactics
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 Torhütergoalkeeper, goalie
r Torjäger goal scorer (who scores often)
Gerd Müller, who played with Bayern München, long held the German record 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"). He was finally surpassed in the 2000s by Miroslav Klose. Müller had 68 career goals and Klose 71.
r Torschussgoalkick
r Torschützenkönig leading goalscorer ("goal king")
r Torwartgoalkeeper, goalie
r Trainercoach, trainer
trainieren (v.)practice, train, work out
r Treffergoal, 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 Verletzunginjury
verlieren (verlor, verloren)
  Wir haben (das Spiel) verloren.
to lose
  We lost (the game).
r Verteidigerdefender
e Verteidigungdefense
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 Vorstandboard, directorship (of club/team)


wechseln (v.) 
  substitute out
  substitute in
r Weltmeisterworld champion
e Weltmeisterschaft world championship, world cup
r Weltpokalworld cup
e Wertungpoint awards, scoring
e WM (e Weltmeisterschaft)world championship, world cup
das Wunder von Bernthe 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. The title is "Das Wunder von Bern" ("The Miracle of Bern").


zu Besuch, auswärtson the road
zu Hauseat home, home game
e Zuschauer (pl.)
  s Publikum
  fans, spectators