These contain some examples of vulgar language.

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Football fans have a special code for communicating. Their language is often cryptic and full of metaphors. If you hear fans, for example, encouraging their team with the slogan Ran an die Pille! you probably wouldn't know what it meant, even with a decent command of German. Now that's where we're stepping in to help you catch up on the lingo in preparation for a big football event.

Football slang
Football metaphors
Footballers' pearls of wisdom
Names to look out for

(* = familiar, ** = very familiar, *** = vulgar, s = slang, Lit. = Literally)

Football slang

Die Pille (s) Football. Lit. Pill.
Das runde Leder (s) Football. Lit. The round leather
Ran an die Pille! (s) Go for the ball! Lit. Go for the pill!

Der Kasten (s) Goal. Lit. box. That's what the whole match is about: getting the ball in the goal.
Wenn das Leder im Kasten klingelt (s) Scoring a goal. Lit. When the leather jingles in the box.

Abräumen (**) To score, Lit. To clean up.
Versenken (s) To score, Lit. To dump, to sink.
Den Ball im Tor versenken (s) To score a goal. Lit. To dump the ball in the goal.

Bolzen (s) To kick about. Playing just for fun in your spare time.
Der Bolzplatz (s) Football pitch. Lit. Kick around ground. Communal pitch, often with goal posts, where you can play football.

Der Hexenkessel (s) Football stadium of the opposing team, with the fans creating a heated atmosphere. Lit. Witch's cauldron.

Rempeln (**) To barge into, to shove somebody away. Unfair behaviour on the football pitch.

Anfeuern (*) To cheer on, to encourage your team. Lit. To fire.

Schlachtengesänge (**) Football chants Lit. Battle songs.
As in Steh auf, wenn du für Deutschland bist (*) "Get up if you're supporting Germany", sung to the melody of "Go West" by the Pet Shop Boys.

La-Ola-Welle (*) La-ola-wave. Mexican wave, invented by fans at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.

Ihr könnt nach Hause fahrn' (*) "You can go home." Fans greeting the opposing team.

Der Schlachtenbummler (**) Football fan who travels to support his team (home and away). Lit. Battle stroller.

Der Abstauber (**) Goal hanger, player who scores without much strategy, sometimes accidentally, Lit. Swiper.

Kleinklein (s) Passing the ball from player to player without a plan. Lit. Small small.

Die Gurkentruppe (s) Team that plays badly and unprofessionally, a disaster area, incompetent bunch of players. You get the picture. Lit. Cucumber troop.

Die Altherrenmannschaft (**) Senior citizens' team. Often used to describe a team that plays slow and unadventurous football.

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Schiri (s) Short for der Schiedsrichter, referee.

Der Unparteiische (*) Referee. Lit. The neutral one.

Der Schwarze (**) Referee. Lit. The black one (referring to his black clothes).

Der Schiedsrichter braucht einen Blindenstock (*) Lit. The referee needs a white cane.

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Football metaphors

Some football terms even made it into every day language.

Auf der Auswechselbank sitzen (*) Ready to be replaced by somebody else. Lit. Sitting on the substitute's bench.

Die rote Karte zeigen (*) To send someone off, to keep someone from doing something. Lit. To brandish the red card.

Im Mittelfeld spielen (*) To be mediocre. Lit. To play the centre field.

In einer anderen Liga spielen (*) To be better than someone else. Lit. To play in a different league.

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Footballers' pearls of wisdom

Footballers are not just famous for their ability to play and score, but also for their comments after a match. Enjoy the following classic quotes.

Ich hatte vom Feeling her ein gutes Gefühl. Andreas Möller (former player Schalke 04) in fluent Denglish about his feelings. Lit. My feeling was that I had a good feeling.

Das habe ich ihm dann auch verbal gesagt. Mario Basler (former player FC Kaiserslautern) states the rather obvious. Lit. That's what I said verbally.

Ich habe gleich gemerkt, das ist ein Druckschmerz, wenn man drauf drückt. Lothar Matthäus (former player Bayern München) reveals medical insights. Lit. I immediately realised that it was a pressure pain when I put pressure on it.

Zwei Chancen, ein Tor - das nenne ich hundertprozentige Chancenauswertung. Rohland Wohlfahrt (former player Bayern München) knows his maths. Lit. Two chances, one goal - that's what I call taking your chances one hundred percent.

Ich brauche keinen Butler, ich habe eine junge Frau. Thomas Doll (former player HSV) proves to be a gentleman. Lit. I don't need a butler, I have a young wife (who is now married to one of his colleagues).

Mailand oder Madrid - Hauptsache Italien! Andreas Möller (former player Schalke 04) knows his geography. Lit. Mailand or Madrid - All that matters is that it's in Italy.

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Fans always find nicknames for their favourite players. It is very popular to just shorten the name and then add an -i to the end. Here are some names to look out for.

Olli Oliver Kahn, Bayern München goalkeeper, also called der Titan, the titan.

Poldi Lukas Podolski, 1.FC Köln

Schweini Sebastian Schweinsteiger, FC Bayern München. Lit. Piggy from his rather unfortunate last name

Klinsi Jürgen Klinsmann, national team trainer

Basti Sebastian Deisler, FC Bayern München

Balla Michael Ballack, FC Bayern München

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