Football Language Podcast: May 2020 Bundesliga Returns

May 2020 Bundesliga ReturnsEnglish Through Football Podcast – May 2020 Bundesliga Returns: The Bundesliga is back after a two-month break due to Covid-19 and on this podcast we look ahead to the final nine matches of the season. We look at the title race, the relegation battle and some of the other main stories related to the first major European season to return to action after the lockdown. We also explain a new football phrase, give some predictions and ask a football-language question. Listen to the podcast by clicking on the file below – you can also subscribe and listen to all our football-language podcasts – there are hundreds! You can improve your English by reading the transcript as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make several listening and/or reading activities for your learners. If you have questions or comments, email us at: (Damian=DF/Damon=DB).

Learn English Through Football Podcast: May 2020 – May 2020 Bundesliga Returns

Podcast May 2020


DF: Hello everyone, you are listening to the Learn English Through Football Podcast. We hope you are well and staying safe. My name is Damian and I am here in London where the weather is dry but cloudy. How are you Damon? How is Tokyo?

DB: I’m well Damian. It rained all Saturday, that was yesterday, but that made it easy to stay at home. A rainy Saturday here in Japan but a big weekend in Germany as the Bundesliga restarts. As you mentioned Damon, we’ll be looking at the league on this show – the situation before the re-start, the front runners, and teams facing relegation.

DF: Yes, on a day when the Premier League should have been playing its final game of the season – there is still no real sign when English football will return – the German league, the Bundesliga, has restarted after two months of lockdown. Now Damon, what else is on this week’s podcast?

Line up

DB: Well, we’ll start off by highlighting some of the resources that we’ve posted on our site over the past seven days and then we’ll have a football-language quiz question which this week features a German football phrase. After that we will look ahead to the restart of the Bundesliga when we look at some of the language around the title race and the relegation battle. We will also explain some football expressions, including pre-season, we’ll predict some of the games from the Bundesliga including the big derby between Dortmund and Schalke and answer some listeners’ posts.

Stinger: You are listening to (in German)

DF: Now, Damon mentioned that we have been adding lots of football-language resources to our site over the past seven days and these include an online gap fill activity about the game involving Liverpool and Leicester – one of your favourites, Damon, right!

DB: Yes!

DF: We have also added a couple of new football language posts, including ‘yo-yo club‘, a German football language quiz, while we have also added some more World Cup posts and quizzes in our series of looking back at some of the classic World Cup matches.

DB: Lots of good stuff there for those interested in the language of the beautiful game and improving their English!

Football Language Quiz: Beinschuss

DF: Now, the Bundesliga have actually published their own glossary or football dictionary of words and phrases and so for this week’s football language quiz we thought we’d take a look at one of the words from that list. We’d like to know what does the word ‘beinschuss‘ mean? Damon is that okay?

DB: Sounds good to me!

DF: Right, beinschuss, is it:

  1. Nutmeg – so, when you put the ball between an opponent‘s legs?
  2. Hat-trick – when a player scores three goals in one game?
  3. Scissor kick or bicycle kick – when a player hits the ball over their head in mid-air (an overhead kick)?
  4. Screamer – a long-range shot, an unstoppable shot?

DB: So, what do you think a ‘beinschuss‘ is – I wonder will we see one in this weekend’s fixtures? And we will of course have the answer at the end of the show. Don’t forget that you can also test out your knowledge of German football language in our online quiz by coming along to

Stinger: You are listening to (In Japanese).

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Japanese and we’d love to hear from you if you’d like to record a message for the show in your own language – send it on to

Right, it’s been two months but this weekend the Bundesliga returns to action and in this next section we look ahead to the rest of the German season.

Bundesliga – Current Situation

Bundesliga Returns May 2020DF: The Bundesliga is the first major football league to restart the season after the Covid-19 lockdown and the whole world will be watching – not just to see some live football again but also to see how the whole process works. There are some huge changes being implemented in the league and so before we focus on the title race and relegation battle in the German league let’s take a look at some of these changes.

DB: Testing – All players and coaching staff will be continuously tested while the season is played out, remember that there are 8 games remaining. If someone tests positive for the virus then the team is put into isolation or quarantine which means they will not be allowed to play or train for two weeks – something that has already happened to the Bundesliga 2 side Dynamo Dresden who have had to postpone their game this weekend.

DF: 213 – This is the number of people allowed in and around the stadium on match day. The authorities have warned fans not to come to the stadium; so this means that in addition to the players, there will only be the coaching staff, the match officials and a certain number of journalists allowed into the ground.

DB: Geisterspielen – ghost games: With no fans allowed into the stadiums this is the phrase that many have been using to describe the upcoming matches. The Revierderby, for example, should have over 80,000 fans in attendance but as we have mentioned there will be no fans there at all – how will that affect the teams? However, one club, Borussia Mönchengladbach, has decided to use cardboad cut outs of fans as they try to recreate some kind of an atmosphere.

DF: That’s a great idea! You can actually buy one of yourself – did you know that?

DB: No, that’s great..

DF: That’s fantastic…right, the last one is five and this is the number of substitutes allowed to enter the game and that has changed from three to five, which is a huge change, but has been introduced as many of the players are probably still not fit enough to play 90 minutes. It will be interesting to see how coaches use these extra substitutions.

DF: Now, Damon, what’s the current situation with regards to the actual competition itself?

DB: Well, the last game in the German league took place on the 11th of March and that was between Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Köln. Both teams were playing their game in hand on the rest of the league and it was won by two goals to one by Mönchengladbach; a result which helped them maintain their challenge at the top of the table. It meant that all teams, except for Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, had played 25 matches before the league was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Title Race

Bundesliga Title RaceDF: That’s right, as you said before, Borussia Mönchengladbach were in with a shout of the title before the league was suspended, sitting in 4th place on 49 points. Above them were RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and on top of the pile, Bayern Munich, who had 55 points. The top two teams were definitely the form teams in the title race with four wins each on the bounce but it will be interesting to see how they come back after the break. Bayern are still favourites to make it eight titles in a row…

DB: Oh my gosh…

DF: … but any kind of slip up could let any one of the four other teams to take advantage. How about the relegation battle Damon?


DB: Well, at the other end of the table, Paderborn and Werder Bremen were in big trouble. The former had only managed 16 points, but Werder Bremen only had two more on 18 points. Padeborn are somewhat of a yo-yo club. Now, in 2015 they were promoted to the top tier only to go down immediately and then be relegated again to the third tier. They then won successive promotions and are back in the Bundesliga this season. It looks like their yo-yo form is going to continue though. Hovering just above these two are Fortuna Dusseldorf who faced Padeborn in a six-pointer yesterday!

DF: Yes and that game finished in a scoreless draw – 0-0 – so a result that did neither club any favours.

Stinger: Hi, my name’s Izzy. I’m a fan of Dulwich Hamlet FC and you’re listening to


DF: OK, it’s time for predictions and let’s start by looking back at some of the games that took place yesterday, Saturday the 16th of May.

Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04

Embed from Getty Images

DF: The Revierderby saw Dortmund hosting Schalke at the Signal Iduna Park and the team who were in second place, four points behind the leaders Bayern Munich, thrashed their local rivals 4-0 to mantain their title charge. I thought that as it was a derby, that Dortmund had no real home advantage with no fans there, as well as a lot of injuries meant that this game had draw written all over it and went for a 1-1 draw; so no points for me. How did you do Damon?

DB: Well, I did go for home advantage and thought Dortmund would win, but not by 4-0. I thought it would 2-0. Teenage prodigy, Haaland scoring the first goal in that game, continuing his great scoring form, so despite the strange conditions the game was played in, some things remained the same.

RB Leipzig vs SC Freiburg

DF: Next up is Leipzig and Freiburg. Leipzig were currently in third position and just a point behind Dortmund before the match and were clear favourites to beat Freiburg who lie in eighth place. However, Leipzig were held to a 1-1 draw – a point which leaves their title hopes in tatters.

DB: Yes, not good for RB Leipzig. Now, you said ‘title hopes in tatters’ that means ruined, broken, ripped up, right?

DF: That’s right – a bit like my prediction. A damaging blow to their chances – and to mine!

FC Union Berlin vs Bayern Munich

DF: Now the last game is Union Berlin versus Bayern Munich and this game takes place today (Sunday) and sees the current leaders Bayern Munich travelling to the capital to face Union Berlin. If this game had been taking place in front of fans then Munich’s task would have been tougher but without any home support I think Munich will easily win this one… maybe 4-1 for me.

DB: I agree, 3-0 to the leaders.

Stinger: You are listening to in Vietnamese

DF: Right, next up we have an explanation of a phrase that is usually heard around July or August as teams get ready for a new season here in Europe.

Football Language: Preseason

DB: This is the period or time before the season starts (pre- is a prefix that means before something). Teams need to prepare before the season starts so they use pre-season to help their players recover, get fit and work on new tactics and ideas for the new season. They also play friendly games (sometimes known as warm-up games) and these are termed pre-season games which are sometimes played in pre-season tournaments. Before a season starts many pundits and fans like to predict which teams will win the league or be relegated and so we can often hear the phrase ‘pre-season favourites’ to win the title or ‘pre-season favourites’ to go down which means that even before the league has kicked off many people think this team will be relegated to a lower division.

Here’s an example headline from the Guardian (May 12, 2006): ‘Royle’s reign ends after Ipswich’s failure to justify ‘pre-season hype‘ and here ‘pre-season hype‘ means that lots of people thought they’d do well before the season started. Although they didn’t do as well as expected and that’s the reason the manager (Joe Royle) was fired.

You are listening to (in Portuguese – from Brazil)

Language Questions – ‘Dar bola

DF: Right, if you remember in last week’s podcast we were talking about a Portuguese football phrase ‘dar bola‘ and we wondered whether the term was similar to the phrase ‘caress the ball‘ or ‘have the ball under your spell‘. Well JosĂ© from Brazil has been in contact and suggested that in football ‘dar bola’ means to pass the ball to a teammate, while in a romantic context the same phrase means to flirt with somebody. Thanks for that JosĂ©.

DB: Thanks!

Prefix Challenge

DF: Now, you might also remember on last week’s podcast that I mentioned we had signed up for the seven-day prefix challenge with @CambridgeWords which is the Twitter handle of Cambridge Dictionary to try and find seven different words with seven different prefixes over the past week. Now, a prefix is of course a word or a letter that comes before another word, as Damon mentioned earleir so for example, pre-season means before the season starts.

Now, it was a lot tougher than I thought … because we decided to only do it through football, so we went for ‘unplayable‘; ‘disallow a goal‘; ‘semi-finalist; ‘re-write the record books‘; ‘counter attack‘; ‘to overturn a decision‘. So, if any of our listeners know any more football phrases with prefixes then come along, let us know on our forum.

Football Language Quiz: Beinschuss – Answer

DB: Talking abut football language, earlier on in the show we asked about the meaning of the German word ‘Beinschuss‘ and we wanted to know which of the following terms it translates as in English.

  1. Nutmeg – when you put the ball between an opponent‘s legs?
  2. Hat-trick – when a player scores three goals in one game?
  3. Scissor kick or bicycle kick – when a player hits the ball over their head in mid-air (an overhead kick)?
  4. Screamer – a long-range shot, an unstoppable shot?
  5. Which was the answer?

DF: Well, the answer is number 1 – a nutmeg. Yes. The word ‘beinschuss‘ refers to a situation when someone is shot in the legs so the pain in your legs when the ball is put through them is seen as something really horrible and I think that’s why they call it the nutmeg. Fantastic stuff.

DB: Interesting.

Good Bye

DF: Now, before we go, don’t forget that you can contact us here at languagecaster through our various social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Come along to our forums, ask a question or just say hello at Take care everyone – stay safe and we’ll see you soon.

DB: Yes, take care. Ta-ra!

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