Word of the Week: Bananenflankenkönig
Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) Sad news for all of us: Germany was defeated by France in the European Championship semi-final on July 7. But that won't stop us from learning some more German soccer terminology. Our last soccer word for this summer is a fun one: Bananenflankenkönig.
Directly translated, Bananenflankenkönig means "banana-cross-king", but in order to understand it, let's take it apart:
The most important part of this term is the word Flanke, which means "cross" or "flank". This is a soccer technique in which a player delivers the ball from one flank or wing of the field to the opponent's penalty area. A player will usually attempt this move when his teammates are directly in front of the goal. By crossing the ball from the wing to the area right in front of the goal (usually lofted, to get over the heads of defenders), there's a chance that his teammates will be able to score a goal. If the ball is still lofted, players have a chance of heading the ball into the goal.
A Bananenflanke is an even more specific term: this word describes a cross in which the ball travels across the field at a crooked angle. The path of the ball is crooked like a banana; thus the term "banana cross". Executing a perfect Bananenflanke takes a high level of skilll and the ball's path may be more difficult for opponents to interfere with.
Enlarge image (© picture alliance / Mika) Now let's add the word König ("king") to Bananenflanke. This creates Bananenflankenkönig, or "king of the banana flanks". It describes a player who has become well known for executing many perfect Bananenflanken. One player who was known as a Bananenflankenkönig in the 1980s was Manfred Kaltz, who played in the Bundesliga for Hamburger SV. He was famous for his right-footed "banana crosses", many of which led to goals scored by striker Horst Hrubesch. Being called a Bananenflankenkönig is surely a compliment!
By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany