May 19, 2014

German football=Fußball (soccer) for foreigners (PART 1)

Today we talk about "football", "fútbol" and "soccer".

Depending on your country you call it one thing or another, but if you are reading this blog you can then start calling it "Fußball".

For me, as it is for all my European neighbors, "football" is the sport that is played with this ball:

Screen shot of Fußball Dossier at

For the US and Australia, "football" describes a completely different sport:

Screen shot of Oxford University Sport
Screen shot of

So let me start by clarifying what sport I will be writing about.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary:

Screen shot of the - search for football

Football has been around since the 19th century and it is the most popular sport in the world... maybe not in the US and Australia, but it is in the rest of the world.

And because it's so popular and it is played in over 200 countries across all continents, you can expect some language discrepancies (as we have already learnt):
  • it is called football in English but soccer in the US and Australia
  • it is futebal in Brazil 
  • it is fútbol in the Spanish-speaking countries
  • and it is Fußball in Germany
Confused? let me help you or let me send you to someone who can clear the confusion. Tony Manfred @ the Business Insider created an amazing worldwide map showing how each country on the globe calls football:

Screen shot of the BI article by Tony Manfred:!HTxI6

Got it? not yet? then let me then tell you that the sport of football started in Britain sometime in the 19th century and two centuries later Gary Lineker, a former and very successful English football player came out with the modern definition of the sport of football and with it... he went viral:
Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win (Gary Lineker) 
Do you get the idea? 


The Bundesliga is the leading German national competition. It runs from August to May and it sells 18 million tickets annually. The Bundesliga is considered the number one trophy in the country and so every German team fights for it. 
In 2014 FC Munich won the Bundesliga.

Screen shot of the official site of Bundelisga

On a second level, you have the DFB Competition: which stands for "Deutscher Fußball Bund". The DFB is the second most important competition in Germany and it happens every year after the Bundesliga
This year (2014) the FC Munich won the Cup.

Screen shot of the official DFB website
There are 18 German teams playing in the Bundesliga and competing for the DFB-cup. 

Part II will be published very soon but if you don't want to guess when just follow us by email to be the first to read the PART II.

Related Posts:
German TV explained for foreigners
Going to the movies in English in Munich
German adopting English words


  1. soc·cer
    noun \ˈsä-kər\

    : a game played between two teams of 11 players in which a round ball is moved toward a goal usually by kicking
    : a game played on a field between two teams of 11 players each with the object to propel a round ball into the opponent's goal by kicking or by hitting it with any part of the body except the hands and arms
    here is both terms for american and british so the british needs to go back and call this soccer like it is, cause there is a big difference between soccer and football (futbol)---futbol would be the correct term rugby which is football. so not sure who in the spain and british thought soccer is futbol when it clearly states this:
    c : an American game played between two teams of 11 players each in which the ball is in possession of one side at a time and is advanced by running or passing

  2. as you can see with rugby or as others call it football you can use any part of your body arms and hands. but with soccer not able to use your hands or arms.

    so probably better not confuse the soccer ball (round) and the futbol, rugby, football a sphere shape ball (not round) and you throw the sphere ball up in the air, the sphere ball is not shaped round to be kicked around on the ground, made to be thrown in the air. hope this helps on the clarification of the big differences in the ball and what they are specifically used for in sports of soccer, and futbol, rugby, and last football. just because americans call it football doesn't mean its the same term as soccer. maybe the foreigners should come learn about football in america? might help clarify soccer and football.

  3. on the last note of what you think that the americans call football soccer, they do not call it that, it is actually 2 DIFFERENT SPORTS, just thought you may want to know that, so in a way we call soccer "soccer" that is why america has a soccer league, and we call football either rugby or futbol which is football a sphere ball used and they do not use that as a soccer ball. so really they are not confused or lost. I think you just may not realized that soccer and football are again 2 different sports so I hope people can understand the difference.

  4. Great blog and great explanations on this post! But in Brazil we say Futebol :) hope you can visit my blog too: Packing my SuitcaseI also live in Munich, but Im from Brazil :) LG, Allane

    1. Hi Allane, thank you very much for your kind note.

      I'm very happy to know that you like the Blog. I'll make sure we follow you in Bloglovin.
      Have a great day,

  5. Haha! This is great!! I'm an American who moved to Europe 6 years ago, but to a lot of people's disappointment I haven't really gotten SO into soccer yet, but I'm always into the cultural aspects of anything! Back in June of this year when Germany was on their in the World Cup I made a video on this topic because all my friends back home were questioning and asking what it was all about. I included a link in the "URL" section in case you're interested. Hope you're still having fun in Munich--Oktoberfest is just around the corner! :D