Word of the Week: Notbremse

Jun 29, 2016

If you speak German, you've probably heard the word Notbremse ("emergency brake"), but have you heard it in the context of a soccer game?

Notbremse Enlarge image (© picture alliance / Sven Simon) When it comes to soccer, the word Notbremse is used to describe a foul that a player may commit in order to prevent a goal from being scored by the opposing team. A player may, for example, throw himself in front of an opponent, causing a collision that would prevent the opponent from scoring - and possibly even cause an injury. This, however, is a risky decision: if a player is caught doing it, he may be punished with a red card, which means he will not be able to play for the rest of that game or even the following game. That could ultimately hurt the team as a whole. Attempting a Notbremse is perhaps not always the wisest decision, but it may be helpful in cases where the opponent is winning or both teams are tied, and any additional goal from the opponnent could change the outcome of the game. If, for example, there are only five minutes left in the game and there is a tie, a player conducting a Notbremse could thereby prevent his team from losing. In that case, he might not care if he sits out the rest of the game - after all, he already did his part in preventing a goal.

Sometimes it may be difficult to tell if a player was conducting a Notbremse or not; the referee is the one to make the decision.

In English, soccer enthusiasts may refer to this tactic as a "professional foul." But there is no such word as Notbremse. Germans really do have a word for everything, even very particular soccer moves!

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

© Germany.info

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