german vocabulary

German Vocabulary Words and Phrases for Sports [Slideshow]

german vocabulary

Are you a big sports fan? Below, German teacher Tyler S. teaches a lesson in German sports culture and common German vocabulary words and phrases for sports…

If you take a trip to Germany, you’ll quickly learn how important sports are to most people. Germany is full of sport enthusiasts from die-hard soccer fans to the occasional handball player.

In fact, the German Embassy recently released a report stating 27 million Germans are members of a sports club and 12 million pursue sports individually. That means that almost one out of every two Germans is interested in sports!

There are many benefits to learning about Germany’s sports culture. Not only is it a fantastic way to travel and exercise, but it is absolutely one of the best ways to meet new people and make friends.

When I was an exchange student in Germany, I had an incredibly easy time meeting people at soccer events in Munich for the FC Bayern soccer team. I highly suggest attending sporting events if you get the chance during your travels.

The following sections highlight the most popular German sports that a common traveler would most likely encounter. Afterward, there is a slideshow that teaches you the basic German vocabulary words and phrases you will need to have a conversation about sports.


German culture and soccer are practically inseparable. It is by far the most popular sport in Germany, with over 25,000 clubs and 170,000 teams devoted to soccer. Likewise, Germany’s top-level soccer association (the Bundesliga) has the highest average attendance for any soccer association in the world.

One of my favorite soccer destinations that I love to visit in Germany is the Allianz Arena, which is the architecturally impressive home of the FC Bayern Munich team that can seat over 70,000 spectators. If you are a fan of soccer, you will have a hard time finding a better place to experience the sport than in Germany!


Like soccer, Germany is a major hub for handball enthusiasts. In fact, Germany is officially recognized as the birthplace of handball (or der Handball), and many Germans find great enjoyment in playing this sport as it continues to gain popularity.

The German Handball Association (the Handball Bundesliga) is considered by many Germans to be the one of the most competitive professional sports leagues in the world.

During my travels throughout Germany, it was very easy to meet somebody who was interested in handball and strike up a conversation. If you have never played handball before and you are in Germany, give it a try! It is a fun experience you will not regret.

Ice Hockey

Believe it or not, ice hockey is considered to be one of the top three most popular sports in Germany. Like handball, the sport made its official debut in Berlin in 1888, and now almost every German city has an ice hockey team.

The official league for ice hockey in Germany is called the Eishockey-Oberliga and includes approximately 14 different teams, including the Eisbären Berlin and the Hamburger Freezers.


Although not nearly as popular as Fußball, basketball is recognized as the fourth most popular sport. Once banned during World War I and II, basketball began to swiftly gain popularity in Germany in the late 1970’s.

The highest-ranking basketball league in Germany is called the Basketball Bundesliga, comprised of 18 national teams that compete for Germany’s national champion title.

The popular German athlete Dirk Nowitzki, who currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, caused many Germans to take an interest in basketball as a spectator and amateur sport.

German Vocabulary Words and Phrases for Sports

Now it’s time to learn some useful German vocabulary to help you spark up a conversation about sports. Below are some of the most common German vocabulary words and phrases you will need to discuss sports auf Deutsch:

This article is not an exhaustive list of all the great sports there are to try in Germany. There is still a large variety of less common sports, such as bobsledding, biathlon, ski jumping, rugby, and cycling. My advice is to be adventurous and participate in a sport you enjoy during your travels!
Study these German vocabulary words and phrases and you’ll be chatting with German natives about sports like a pro.
Tyler S.Post Author: Tyler S.
Tyler S. teaches in-person German lessons in Minneapolis, MN. He received his Bachelor’s degree in German and linguistics from the University of Minnesota, and has experience working as a teaching assistant and private tutor with TakeLessons since 2008. What’s more? He can speak 7 different languages! Learn more about Tyler here!

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