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Football Language Podcast: May 2020 – Bundesliga Week 2

Bundesliga Week 2English Through Football Podcast – May 2020: Bundesliga Week 2: Football in the Bundesliga has been back for over a week now and on this show, we take a look at some of the language connected with one of these Bundesliga matches from the week – the Berlin derby between Hertha and Union. 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 of them dating from way back in 2006! 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 – Bundesliga Week 2

Podcast May 2020


DB: You’re listening to’s Learn English Through Football Podcast – the podcast for all fans of football and those wanting to improve their English language skills. We hope you are well and staying safe. My name is Damon and I’m based in Tokyo, which is finally enjoying some sun after a wet week. Down the line in London is Damian. Damian, did you watch any of the Bundesliga games this past week?

DF: Hello Damon and hello to everyone listening, wherever you are, and I hope you are doing well in these difficult times. Well, what football have I watched this week? I watched Bayern Munich easily beat Eintracht Frankfurt side 5-2 – a strange game that saw Bayern race into an easy 3-0 lead before a brace from Austrian defender Martin Hinteregger brought Frankfurt back into the game. However, Bayern moved up another gear and scored two more thanks to poor defensive play from the visitors’ defence including an own goal from Martin Hinteregger. I also saw the top-of-the-table clash between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen which was a really good game which Leverkusen won 3-1 to leapfrog (that’s go over or replace) Mönchengladbach into third place. They are in really good form and their young striker Kai Havertz scored his second double in a week – another really good player in the Bundesliga. How about you Damon, did you see any games?

DB: I’m afraid not. I’m still in football lockdown. I had to make do with highlights as I couldn’t get the games on my usual channels. I’ll have to check out some different ways this week. It’d be great to watch some football again!

DF: That’s a pity but yesterday we heard that La Liga – the Spanish league – has decided to restart from June, I think it’s the 10th so you might be able to watch that soon and of course the Premier League here in England is also hoping to start playing again in June.

You are listening to (in Polish )

Line up

DB: Now, I didn’t see any live football but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it and on today’s show we’ll focus the game between Hertha Berlin vs Berlin Union and Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt. We’ve also got a football language question, and this one is connected with scoring goals, while we also have some predictions.

DF: OK, let’s kick off with a look back at the Berlin derby from Friday night, which was won emphatically 4-0 by Hertha at home. Is that home advantage I wonder? Remember last week in the Rivierderby, Dortmund thrashed their rivals Schalke 4-0 too.

DB: Well, up until Saturday there were 5 away wins, 4 draws and only two home wins – the derbies we’ve just mentioned! Looks like home advantage isn’t so big when there are no supporters!

DF: Interesting! So, this win means 6 points from six for Hertha Berlin since the Bundesliga resumed and two losses on the bounce for Union. Both remain in mid table.

DB: Yes, they’re not going to trouble the leaders for a while. Now, I read a report on this match on ESPN’s soccer site and I thought we could take a look at some football language from that report.

DF: Sounds good. What are we looking at?

DB: OK, it’s a short paragraph but it’s packed with good football phrases and language. Here we go –

Visiting keeper Rafal Gikiewicz pulled off four excellent saves to deny Lukebakio and Cunha before Ibisevic opened the floodgates in driving rain when he headed home an inch-perfect cross by Marvin Plattenhardt in the 51st minute.

Let’s start with the language describing the goalkeeper Gikiewicz; he pulled off four excellent saves.  So we use the verb phrase to pull off to describe a successful save, especially an impressive or good one. So instead of just he made four excellent saves, pulled off adds to the feeling that they were really good saves.

DF: Yes that’s right, pull off often goes with words like ‘amazing’, ‘stunning’, ‘surprise’ and, as in the example we’re talking about, ‘excellent’. You could also use it with the noun ‘victory’ or ‘comeback’ too, so, although it is usually used with save, it can be used to talk abut winning games or amazing performances. Here’s a headline about another derby, this time in Serie A in February: Inter pulls off dramatic comeback vs. AC Milan to move to top of Serie A table (CBS Sport).

DB: Right and the next phrase in this paragraph is ‘open the floodgates‘, which means start the scoring, and scoring which involves a flood, a lot, of goals.

DF: It’s a nice image, isn’t it. You have your defenses against a flooding river or the sea, holding back the water, but in football of course it is the defence holding back the attacking side and then suddenly, the flood defences are breached or broken and the water floods in.

DB: So, Ibisevic scores for Hertha and then Union Berlin’s defence is broken and their rivals put three more past them; his goal opened the floodgates.

DF: And if a team scores a lot of goals like this, we can say they ran riot. They were free to cause damage. OK, and the last phrase in this short passage is inch perfect‘, which means pinpoint or very accurate.

DB: Yes and it is most commonly used with a pass or cross, rather than a shot; so an inch-perfect pass is one that is perfect for the receiving player; it is exactly where he or she wants it.

DF: So in this example Ibisevic scores with a header after a great cross, an inch-perfect cross, by his teammate Plattenhardt. Nice one. Three phrases from just that short section of an ESPN report – pull off a great save, open the floodgates and inch-perfect cross.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Icelandic )

Football Language Quiz:

DB: Right, let’s move on to our football language quiz and this week it is all to do with scoring goals. Imagine a player is in the six-yard area, a cross comes in – it’s inch-perfect – and the goalkeeper can’t stop the cross, all the attacker has to do is touch the ball and it will go into the unguarded net. What would we call this type of goal. So, basically the attacker has an undefended goal in front of him or her and the defenders and goalkeepers are not close enough to stop the attacker scoring. This kind of goal is –

  1. An open goal
  2. A tap in
  3. A shoo in
  4. A glaring chance

And we will of course have the answer at the end of the show. And just a reminder that you can test your knowledge of football and football language by coming along to and clicking on the quizzes menu at the top of the page.

Some of the week’s posts

DF: And while we’re talking about the site, you could also check out some of the posts from this week. We’ve posted about the phrase yo-yo club, taken a look at the Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt game and posted a listening gap-fill quiz based on last week’s Bundesliga podcast. We have also added some more posts in our World Cup series – this time England versus Argentina from 1998 – oh, what a game that was! Come along to the site and click on the posts – some wonderful football memories and of course some great football language as well.


DF: OK, it’s time for predictions and before we look ahead let’s take a quick look back at at some of the games that took place yesterday, Saturday the 24th of May. We’ve already mentioned the Bayern Munich versus Frankfurt game in which the league leaders routed the visitors 5-2 . This means Bayern remain four points above Dortmund, who also won – a 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg. At the other end of the table, Paderborn picked up another point with a 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim; that’s two draws since the restart, but all the teams around them also picked up points meaning they stay rooted to the foot of the table. Second bottom Werder Bremen will be pleased with their 3 points after beating Freiburg 1-0 away, especially as the hosts had a last-minute equaliser ruled out for offside.

DB: And those wins for Bayern Munich and Dortmund set things up nicely for Der Klassiker this mid-week, when Dortmund host Bayern Munich in a real six pointer at the top of the Bundesliga. Damian, what do you think?

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich

DF: Such a pity that this game is being played behind closed doors because the atmosphere would have been electric. Both teams are playing well – a draw would suit Bayern and of course Dortmund need to win to close the gap. Maybe 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund although that is probably my heart over my head as Munich have won 11 and drawn one of their last 12 matches!

DB: I’m going for a 2-2 draw. Both teams can score but Bayern might be happy to be a bit more sensible and tight at the back – yes, a draw will suit them.

RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin

DB: OK, the next game we’ll take a look at is Leipzig versus Hertha Berlin. The latter with two wins from two since the restart and the former with two draws, so based on the form you’d think Berlin would win this and I’ll go for a 1-0 away win to Hertha. Damian?

DF: I saw Leipzig today – they were on fire and they will win this one – 2-0.

Football Language Quiz: – Answer

DF: OK, Damon before we go what is the answer to the football-language question we asked earlier on in the show?

DB:We wanted to how you would describe a close range goal where the attacker is free to shoot. Was it…

  1. An open goal
  2. A tap in
  3. A shoo in
  4. A glaring chance

And the answer is, number 2, a tap in. And we will have another football-language question on next week’s show when of course we will also look back at that Dortmund-Munich clash and of course discuss some more football language from the week.

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. Bye bye.

DB: Yes, take care. Ta-ra!

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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