Five Things You Can Shout When Germany Is Playing Football

Guys, here's something you may not know about me: I go CRAZY when the football (soccer) World or European Cup rolls round. For a German living in England, I am completely reckless in my support of die deutsche Elf  ("the German eleven" - if you don't know that a soccer/football team has 11 players, this is not your article!).

german football vocabulary

I have my team jersey on order, I may even drink beer, and I am totally ready to go and support Özil, Hummels and Schweinsteiger in my local English pub. Inspired by this fun little football phrase generator from German newspaper Der Spiegel, here are five great things you can learn to shout in support of Deutschland.


Schiri stands for "Schiedsrichter" (referee) - there is of course a feminine version of this job title ("Schiedsrichterin"), but to make it easier on everyone to pronounce and holler at the screen, Schiri is the one to use.

This is one to shout out with passion whenever you hear the ref's whistle, favourably if it's an unfair decision or a foul. Don't forget to pronounce those exclamation points.

Deutschland vor, noch ein Tor

A classic chant that every German schoolkid can produce. Often you'll hear this one with a particular player's name instead of "Deutschland" - for example we could name Germany's lone striker Miroslav Klose: Miro vor, noch ein Tor!

Before you shout this one with passion though, wait until Germany's got the first goal in: noch ein translates to "another".

Das war kein Abseits!

Do you know your offside trap? Yes, me too. Every woman has had to learn this to prove her worth, in some kind of misogynist conspiracay of football fans...but I digress! Abseits (neuter) is the German word for offside, and this phrase is a great one to say with a knowing nod when you're out in the Biergarten with your friends.

Die Spieler sind schwach wie Flasche leer

Deutsch ist schwer, by now you probably know that, right? German isn't the easiest language to master, but the key thing is to get your message across. No football coach ever did a better job of this than Giovanni Trappatoni in the 90s, when he went on a beautiful rant at a Bayern Munich press conference. Die Spieler sind schwach wie Flasche leer ("the players are weak like bottles empty") might not be grammatically right, but it is the perfect reaction when you think your team really needs to kick into gear.

That above, by the way, that is the greatest example of immersion.

Das Runde muss ins Eckige

I used to have this on my favourite t-shirt many years ago and always wore it with pride. "The round thing must go into the square thing" is a classic quote from German football hero Sepp Herberger. Along with his other famous "Der Ball ist rund und das Spiel dauert 90 Minuten.", the quote represents Germany's no-nonsense approach to football. Our team isn't known for beautiful arty moves like the Brazilians - but hopefully it will get the job done!

This is it from me for today - I wish all your teams good luck in the World Cup. Let's hope Gary Lineker is right:

Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.

And if you want to get into the mood with a German football movie, why not watch Deutschland - Ein Sommermärchen, or Das Wunder von Bern?

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent - The Language Learning Blog.

Deutschland im Herbst - German autumn vocabulary

Ah, the days are getting colder again. I'm sat here in my little office in a sweater and a denim shirt on top and soon I'll start wearing gloves at the keyboard. Many German learners might be curious about what the country is like in the autumn, so I decided to share my top 5 things that I will miss about Germany this September and October along with a useful vocabulary list and exercises if you sign up for my new mailing list.

Deutschland im Herbst is a special place, and the listed items are my own personal priorities, but of course I know that you may want to add others (something about Munich and beer?), feel free to post your comments!

Traubenlese (grape harvest)

Deutschland im Herbst

Deutschland im Herbst

I come from the Mosel valley and my parents make wine and our whole autumn is a time of vineyard work and harvesting. The hills are completely covered in vines and at this time of the year you'll see tractors everywhere, people working away in the vineyards all day long, but the most significant thing is the scent: The whole place smells of harvest, of fresh grapes and freshly pressed grape juice. Many harvest teams don't even come home at lunchtime but have their lunch brought to them to save time, and enjoy good food with one of Germany's best views..and then back to work!


True to the harvest theme, the second thing autumn means to me is using all the orchard fruit in many new baked goodies. Der Apfelkuchen (apple cake) is one of the most popular recipes, it's easy to make and popular throughout the country. To recreate a true German atmosphere, cover the table in a good tablecloth, bring out the posh china and enjoy a big jug of coffee with the cakes - that's our Kaffee und Kuchen. 

Herbstlaub (autumn leaves)

Germany has 30% arable land (that's land for crops) according to the CIA itself, and we can also show a wealth of forest. As a result, the country offers some great autumn colours throughout the country, from city park trees to fields and vineyards, and of course at their best when you're enjoying them over a glass of wine at sunset. Or is that just me?

Hint: For visitors, the Nationalpark Hainich offers a beautiful view of golden October.


Okay, these are not around every autumn but they made it into the 2013 autumn list because this year is an election year. Der Bundestag is the German parliament, which is elected every four years. Our election days usually fall on a Sunday and they obviously shape the mood and debate of the whole country. Will you be watching on 22 September when Germany decides who might be the next Bundeskanzler or Bundeskanzlerin? Learn more about this important event through Logo or start off in English with help from the BBC in the fun video above. Advanced German speakers should read more about the parties at the Wahl-o-Mat website.

Tag der deutschen Einheit

Germany's national holiday is on 3 October and celebrates our recent and modern history. As a country that was defeated in a war, divided in the middle of a cold war and then reunited, everyone in Germany warmly remembers  den Mauerfall, the end of the Berlin wall. Even though our national holiday date wasn't chosen as the most significant date around, this day in autumn is still perfect for taking a step back and remembering how we got here (a good piece of advice for life, not just Germany). Have a look at the deutsch-deutsche Geschichte pages on for more information, and check out this cool pin on Pinterest with chocolate company Ritter Sport's unique take on German Einheit.

Don't forget to sign up for my mailing list to get your free vocabulary on Germany in autumn, including five exercises. To get feedback on your German, simply post your answers to these exercises in the comments for this article during the next week (deadline 25 September) and I will respond to your comment!

"Deutsche Grammatik" wins German Grammar book title award

So I was kidding in that headline, but then you guys don't know how close I got to writing "this is my gram-ma(r)nifesto".

Today I want to introduce a grammar book that has made explaining German a lot easier for me. It's called, rather creatively, Deutsche Grammatik and written by Heike Pahlow.

If you are

  • serious about your German learning,
  • someone who enjoys getting the hang of theory before experimenting with serious things like talking,
  • or studying for a standardised exam like GCSE or A-Level,

then this one's for you.

German grammar. Really?

Okay, so just in case you are thinking "Isn't this supposed to be the fun language blog?", give me a chance to win you over.

Grammar is one of those things - never noticed when it's done right, but always when it's not. As a language learner, this thought is likely to make you feel you're playing a game of Mikado with shaky fingers, and your impulse might be to stay away. But fear not, first of all remember that the rules in your grammar book are not invented by people as the law of language.

Rules are repeat descriptions

Imagine watching a bunch of men in shorts running around a green field. In the middle, there's a guy dressed in black, he has a whistle and does a lot of pointing. The guys seem to be sharing one ball, for some reason half of them run this way, half run the other way. Now six of them have fallen over, the ball has gone to the edge and everyone is screaming. It's chaos!

If you recognised what I just described as football (soccer, Americans), you know what rules can do for you. They make a messy bulk of people into a world cup winning team. And they will make a completely messy bunch of letters, words and sounds into working sentences. Remember this: It's the other way round. Grammar describes what language is doing so that you can get involved. The chaos would exist anyway.

Easy, compact, well structured

But let's return to why Deutsche Grammatik is my pick for best printed resource.

I like this particular grammar book because it's got all the things you want from a good handbook: Easy structure, detailed index and tables that make a lot of sense. The book is written in German so early learners may need a dictionary or a native speaker at hand. Pahlow uses straightforward examples and provides quite an extensive glossary in the back. You may need it when words like Konzessivsatz come into play.

Add to that an encouraging colour scheme (that means lots of green, not much else) light weight and compact size, and I think we have a winner.

If you want to stay on screen, two great online grammar resources for German learners are the German is easy blog and 's language section (both aimed at English speakers).

App Version


Good news! Randy Glover pointed out recently that you can also access this book in the form of an iPad app, complete with explanations in English and also some exercises. It's the tables that really make this a great resource, so I'm very happy to see that they kept this feature for the app.

There's an ebook too so you can use it on the kindle and nook and those things, all on the Lingolía website.

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.