German Language Blog

All German Football Vocabulary You Need Posted by on Jun 17, 2021 in Culture, Sports, Vocabulary

Germany played the current Weltmeister (World Champion) France, and lost. With 1-0, an Eigentor (own goal) by Germany. Whoops. But let’s not give up, there are many more games to come! If you want to get some vocabulary down for the next game, look no further – here’s a list of some essential football vocabulary, so you can follow the German commentary in any way you want!

Where can I find German commentary?

If you want to get German commentary for the games (or any sports), the ARD Sportschau is often a good bet. It’s the public German channel. You can watch their livestream, but only from Germany, sadly. But there are also other channels, like Manu Thiele, who makes commentary videos on Fußball.

The video above is a parody of Germany being in die Todesgruppe (“death group”), Group F, in the Euro 2020. It gets this name, because three out of the four teams in the group are very strong – Frankreich, Deutschland und Portugal (France, Germany and Portugal). Ungarn (Hungary) is the fourth one, but not a favorite like the others, so it’s an Außenseiter (m, outsider). It’s pretty funny and full of flat humor. Just the way Germans like it.

On to the vocabulary!

Football Vocabulary

Fußball Football Vocabulary

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Basic terms

Fußball spielen, bolzen – to play football

der Fußball – football, soccer ball

der Frauenfußball – women’s football

der Männerfußball – men’s football

der Fußballschuh – football shoe

der Fußballspieler, die Fußballspielerin – football player

der Torwart, die Torwartin – keeper

der Verteidiger, die Verteidigerin – defender

der Angreifer, die Angreiferin – attacker

das Spielfeld – pitch, field

die Seitenlinie – sideline

3der Ball – ball

die Aufstellung – lineup, composition

die Defensive, Abwehr – defensive

die Offensive – offensive

der Angriff – attack

der Konter – counterattack

das Mittelfeld – midfield

das Pressing, die Angriffsverteidigung – pressing

Game rules and Set-pieces

die erste Hälfte – first half

die Halbzeit – half-time

die zweite Hälfte – second half

die Verlängerung – extra time

die Nachspielzeit – added time, stoppage time

die Auswechslung – substitution

der Schiedsrichter, die Schiedsrichterin – referee

die gelbe Karte – yellow card

die rote Karte – red card

der Linienrichter, die Linienrichterin – linesman, assistant referee

das Abseits – offsides

der 16-Meter-Raum/Strafraum – 18-yard box/penalty box

der Strafstoß – penalty

das Handspiel – hands

die Grätsche – slide tackle

das Foul – foul

die Verletzung – injury

die Unterbrechung – interruption

die Standardsituation – set-piece

der Freistoß – free kick

der Einwurf – throw-in

der Eckstoß, die Ecke – corner

der Abstoß – goal kick

die Mauer – (defensive) wall

Making a goal

die Vorlage – assist

der Kopfball – header

der Schuss – shot

der Torschuss – shot on goal

das Tor – goal

das Eigentor – own goal

der Pfosten – goal post

die Latte  – goal bar

das Netz – net

Tor! – goal!

Was für ein Tor! – What a goal!

das Runde muss ins Eckige – The round thing must go into the square thing


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Fiona:

    Er ….. what about women’s fussball? Or is that a dirty word?

    • Sten:

      @Fiona Not at all!

      Good point, though, let me update the list of words where that applies 🙂


  2. Joe Genovese:

    I like “die Angriffsverteidingung”……the attack-defence.