There's chanting in the stands, sunshine in the streets and everyone is dusting off the Mannschaft jerseys: Euro 2016, this year's biggest football tournament has finally started!
Party With German Friends
If you're learning the German language, you already know how important the sport is to Germans. There are over 6.5 million football club members in Germany, but during Euro 2016 those numbers pale into insignificance. You're safe to say that at least half of the Germans you'll meet are going to take an interest in this tournament.
By the way: As a Welsh learner, I've already picked up a few new words by learning the Welsh national anthem. Never say sportsball isn't for learning.
So Why Miss Out On Euro 2016 Fun?
No matter who you are supporting, no matter if you even care about who wins, the excitement is going to be unavoidable in the coming weeks. The following tips are guaranteed to help you feel at home in any Fanmeile or public viewing zone (those are what the Germans call their big screen areas)
1) Don't Bet On The Favourites
Germans are a risk-averse bunch. The classic British tradition of supporting the underdog is puzzling to many of them. Why go for anything but the most promising option? So if you want to get with the German mentality as a football supporter, reserve a soft spot for the most likely tournament winners.
For Euro 2016, the strongest football teams are Spain, Italy, Poland, the reigning world champions Germany and host nation France.
But don't go out and place a bet on them to win. Bet shops and betting agencies in sports are less commonplace in Germany as Germans prefer wise investments to anything as risky as gambling.
2) Get The Grillparty Started
Football World Cup and European Cup tournaments take place in the summer - perfect timing for millions of Germans to open up Balkonien (balconia - a German word for "holidaying at home") and invite their friends round for a BBQ and viewing party.
For the best German Grillparty, you need a venue (garden, allotment, balcony, public BBQ area), a TV to watch the match, some meat (despite the vegan trend, Germans tend to be non-veggie), salad and veggies, and a good supply of drinks. No need for spicy sauces - German foods are rarely hot and spicy.
3) Be A Fachsimpler
Fachsimpeln (playing the expert) is a hobby no one can resist entirely, and watching sports among friends is no exception. When you're among your friends and everyone is playing armchair pundits, listen out for some of the following words to help you keep up:
- Der Anstoß - kick off
- Die Schwalbe - dive (when a player feigns injury)
- Der Stürmer - striker
- Der Verteidiger - defense player
- Das Mittelfeld - mid-field
- Der Elfmeter - penalty
- Der Eckball - corner
- Der Freistoß - free kick
- Das Foul - foul
- Verlängerung (in der Verlängerung) - extra time
- Ich bin für Deutschland. - I'm supporting Germany
- Wie steht es? - what's the score?
- Der Pokal - cup (in a sporting context)
By the way, you can practice these sentences and learn a lot more about how Germans talk in my German pronunciation course.
4) Be About The Team, Not The Player
Back in the early 2000s, German football wasn't quite as successful as it's looking today. Our teams were made up of good players, but the team spirit was lost. In recent years, German football has undergone a transformation and brought in a new focus on the whole team.
The official song, motto and hashtag for the German football team in Euro 2016? Jeder für Jeden (or #jederfuerjeden) - everyone for everyone. This team is not about running around behind a super famous striker. They're hoping to bring home sporting glory together.
5) Learn Some Football Quotes
Football coaches and football players are people who are often asked for their opinions, and every now and then produce a piece of wisdom second to none. You can find many quotes attributed to German coaches on this Spiegel.de page. From Der Ball ist rund und das Spiel dauert 90 Minuten, to nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel, you won't need to be fluent in German to join in with your football-crazy friends this summer.
Or if you want to hang out and watch football with me for the night, all you really need is a passionate supply of these lines. Let's be honest, even shouting "Mesuuuuut!" at strategic moments will be wonderful.
Who Are You Supporting?
Football tournaments are an awesome way for people to get together and have a bit of fun (that's valid for the incredibly underfunded womens' sports too, by the way).
Are you joining in this summer? What's your favourite football quote?
Let me know in the comments below!