Words and Phrases from the 2013 Champions League Final

Congratulations to Bayern Munich for winning their fifth European Cup/Champions League title after defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley. In this week’s main report we look at some of the words and phrases from the 2013 Champions League final (To choke; to bottle, to press; to run out of steam; to break up the team). You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.

To choke

This was the third Champions League final for Bayern Munich in four years having been beaten in 2010 by Inter Milan and then they lost again at home to Chelsea last year. With many of their starting XI also having been involved in World Cup and European Championship semi-final defeats with Germany there was a fear that the team would choke again; not be able to win under pressure. The 2-1 victory has done much to shed this choker description.

To bottle

When Arjen Robben missed chance after chance against Dortmund in the first half of the Champions League final last weekend we all thought that the Dutchman had yet again bottled it. After all, he had missed a penalty in the final last year and failed to convert a one-on-one at a crucial time in the 2010 World Cup final. This time, however, the Dutchman came good in the second half making one and scoring the other in the Bavarian‘s 2-1 win. Robben can no longer be accused of bottling it.

To play a pressing game

Dortmund became everyone’s favourite second team after their Champions League exploits this season. They knocked out Manchester City, defeated Real Madrid and were involved in some amazing games in this season’s competition. To do this they mainly used a pressing game, that is, they put the opposing team under pressure when they had the ball. Sometimes they would do this high up the pitch when the opposition’s defenders received the ball from the keeper, while other times they simply waited until the opponents crossed the half-way line before hunting in packs to try and retrieve the ball.

To run out of steam

The major challenge with a pressing game is that it is difficult to maintain a high-tempo throughout the match. This is what happened to Borussia Dortmund who noticeably tired in the final 20 minutes of the final – they ran out of steam. They failed to score an early goal which would have allowed them some respite and instead their opponents were able to find much more space towards the end of the game – the winner coming in the last minute – as Dortmund had no energy left.

To break up the team

A young side that was tactically aware, fast, showed strong team spirit with a host of extremely talented players playing under a manager who knew exactly what he wanted from them. This was the perfect cocktail that enabled Dortmund to win two Bundesliga titles and reach the Champions League final. But now all the top teams in Europe want their best players. Kagawa and Sahin had already left and before the final Goetze revealed that he had signed for arch-rivals Bayern, while Lewandowski looks set to leave and there are worries over Klopp their manager as the team breaks up. Dortmund’s story may be a romantic one but everyone knows that it simply could not last.


a one-on-one: An easy chance for a striker

the Bavarian: Referring to Bayern Munich – they are from the southern region of Bavaria in Germany.

hunting in packs: Working together to get the ball back

some respite: A break

a host of: A lot of

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here If you have any suggestions, contact us at admin@languagecaster.com

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2012-13Episode 347