Newspaper Headline: Werner’s hat-trick prompts distancing gaffe

Newspaper Headline: Werner's hat-trick prompts distancing gaffeIn this football language post we explain a newspaper headline from the Independent newspaper (May 25th 2020) about the game between Mainz and RB Leipzig. You can see more explanations of newspaper headlines here and don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Newspaper Headline: Werner’s hat-trick prompts distancing gaffe

This headline is taken from the Independent Newspaper online from May 25th 2020 and focuses on the hat-trick that RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner scored against Mainz in the Bundesliga.

The headline links two different stories – first that the much coveted striker Werner (well known enough in England now that his first name has been omitted) has scored three goals. The second part focuses on the idea of social distancing – in the Bundesliga players are supposed to try to stay apart when celebrating a goal – they need to practice social distancing when celebrating. In fact, in the image from the story we can see that Werner is trying to move away from his team mate after scoring but it also shows how difficult it is to maintain social distancing in a game.

The main verb in this headline is ‘to prompt‘ which means to cause or to bring about something; so here the hat-trick has brought about the distancing mistake – the gaffe. We use the word gaffe in football to describe a bad or embarrassing mistake, one we do not expect to see, for instance a ‘goalkeeping gaffe‘ would be when a keeper has allowed the ball to go through their hands. The gaffe in this headline refers to the mistake by Werner’s teammate who wishes to celebrate with him.


  • Coveted: Wanted by lots of people. The Leipzig striker is wanted by many teams across Europe – he is a much-coveted striker.
  • Gaffe: A big mistake, an embarrassing error
  • To prompt: To cause something to happen – the speech prompted many to disagree with the leader
  • Distancing: During Covid-19 players have been asked to socially distance when celebrating goals.
Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions or questions, contact us at
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