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#1 Essential Guide To German Sports Vocabulary

August 16, 2022
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Guess what? Sports in German is sport! Well that's easy to remember! Get ready to learn some German sports vocabulary including the most popular sports in Germany. We'll also talk a bit about some famous German athletes.

Germans tend to be really passionate about sports, especially football aka soccer, tennis, and Formula One racing. This makes knowing German sports vocabulary essential if you want to make friends or feel one with the culture.

So let's take a look at some German sports and hobbies that are popular spectator's sports or active hobbies.

How To Say Popular German Sports In German

1. Football (soccer) - fussball

football in German

Well it may not come as a surprise, but the most popular sport in Germany is football. In fact, nearly half of the countries approximately 83 million people, play football! It's the closest thing the country has to a national sport. Most major cities in Germany will have a football team.

The German Football Association [Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB)] actually has more than 25,000 clubs and more than 6.8 million members. This makes the DFB the single largest sports federation in the world.

Football is a huge spectator sport in Germany where tens of thousands of fans turn up each game to cheer on the national German football association, Bundesliga. Many of these German football league players were part of the World Cup team that went onto win in 2014.

Most would agree that the most famous footballer in Germany is Franz Beckenbauer. He was not only on the 1974 team that won the World Cup but also managed the 1990 national team that went on to win as well.

2. Ice Hockey - Eishockey

ice hockey in German

Hockey is another of the most well-loved German sports. In fact, it's second in popularity for fandom to football. It's said that you'll never hear fans be louder or more passionate than at a German ice hockey game!

Most German cities have their own ice hockey club and the German ice hockey league is comparable to that of the NHL in Canada and the USA. The German team even went onto the winter Olympics finals against Russia and won a silver medal in 2018.

Uwe Krupp is a notable German hockey player as he's the only successful German to make it into the NHL.

3. Ski Jumping - Skispringen

 ski jumping in German

Okay, so I'm just as surprised as you are. Really? Ski jumping? Apparently so! In Germany this sport attracts a large TV audience and a more than expected proportion of Germans actually do this sport for fun!

The most famous ski jumpers, who have been successful in the winter Olympics are Hans-Georg Aschenbach, Severin Freund and Markus Eisenbichler. All of whom have won gold medals across national and international competitions.

4. Handball - Handball

handball in German

Here's a fun sports fact! Germany invented handball. Since its invention in 1917, it has steadily grown in popularity around the world.

Handball tends to be more popular in smaller cities in Germany, especially in those without a football team or local affiliation. The German handball league is considered to be the best worldwide. Some popular players are Uwe Gensheimer and Hendrik Pekeler.

5. Motorsports And Formula One - Formel 1

 formula one in German

While not a popular sport for Germans to participate in (it's crazy expensive!!!), Formula 1 was another very popular spectator sport. I say was because it's lost some attractions since its most popular drivers retired.

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel were German Grand Prix and Formula 1 darlings. Michael Schumacher had Germans and people the world over glued to their TV screens when he dominated the sport. In 2004, he won the first 12 of 13 races of the season! He goes down in history as one of the most successful drivers ever.

6. Skiing - Skifahren

skiing in German

Another popular winter sport is skiing. It's a popular hobby and pastime in winter. During the holidays, you will find the ski slopes packed with people. In fact, Germany is home to many of the top skiing destinations in Europe, most notably the ones in the Alps.

The highest or biggest German mountain is named die Zugspitze and is a great place to ski in Southern Germany.

At the moment, Germany is awaiting its next skiing superstar. Markus Wasmeier was the last to leave an impression in 1994 when he won two gold medals in the Olympics that year.

7. Tennis - Tennis

tennis in German

Once one of the most watched and famous sports, tennis' popularity on TV has waned, but as a hobby it has grown in popularity with over 5 million people noting it as a hobby.

Thanks to two German tennis stars in the 1990s, Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, tennis roared into popularity. Becker was the youngest to ever win Wimbledon and Steffi Graf remained one of the most popular female tennis players worldwide.

8. Cycling - Radfahren

 cycling in German

While not a serious sport among the large majority of Germans, watching cycling on TV was a popular pastime. It remains popular when the Tour De France is on.

Germany hosted the start of the Tour De France four times with the most recent event taking place in 2017, 30 years after the last time when it was hosted in West Germany.

The most famous German cyclist was Jan Ullrich who had to leave the sport due to doping accusations.

9. Boxing - Boxen

boxing in German

The Klitschkos brothers were responsible for making boxing a popular sport in Germany. Millions would watch their fights and today many people choose boxing as a hobby.

10. Biathalon - Biathlon

biathlon in German

Germans are actually the best in the world at biathlons. Collectively, they've won 59 Olympic medals, including 20 golds! More so a popular TV event, the sport is growing with people practicing it in real life.

Some famous biathlon athletes are Michael Greis, Sven Fischer and Martina Beck.

What Are Some Other Sports In German Called? (German sports vocabulary)

Sports in German
EnglishGerman
ArcheryBogenschießen
BadmintonBadminton
BaseballBaseball
CricketKricket
Field hockeyFeldhockey
GolfGolf
GymnasticsGymnastik
RugbyRugby
RunningBetrieb
Table tennis (Pingpong)Tischtennis
VolleyballVolleyball

Have A Conversation Using German Sports Vocabulary

Here are some simple questions and answers you can use to fit into the sports culture in Germany, no matter what your taste in sports is!

 EnglishGerman
Question:Which sports do you play?Welche Sportarten machst Du?
Answer:I play... (insert sport)Ich spiele...
Question:Which sports do you like to watch?Welche Sportarten schaust du gerne?
Answer:I like to watch ... (insert sport)Ich schaue gerne ...
Question:Who's your favorite player?Wer ist dein Lieblingsspieler?
Answer:My favorite player is (insert name)Mein Lieblingsspieler ist ...
Question:Which football team do you cheer for?Welche Fußballmannschaft feuerst du an?
Answer:I cheer for (insert team name)Ich feuere an ...
Question:Would you like to watch (insert sport) together?Möchten Sie gemeinsam ... schauen?
Answer:Sure!Sicher!
Question:Would you like to watch (insert sport) together?Möchten Sie gemeinsam ... schauen?
Answer:No. I'd rather watch (insert sport)Nein. Ich schaue lieber zu ...
Question:Have you ever been to a (insert sport) game before?Waren Sie schon einmal bei einem (Sport-)Spiel?
Answer:No! But I'd like to goNein! Aber ich würde gerne gehen
Question:Have you ever been to a (insert sport) match before?Waren Sie schon einmal bei einem (Sport-)Spiel?
Answer:No! But I'd like to goNein! Aber ich würde gerne gehen

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