A language exchange partner from England told me that the Germans fear the English national football team very much, and he went on to say that there is even a German song that clearly implies this. Curious, I asked him what that song is. He was unable to gave an immediate answer, but eventually sent me a short audio file with an excerpt from the alleged song.

However, my German is bad as I am learning it just as a third foreign language, and, most importantly, I am not used to listening to German pronunciation and especially German songs. I listened to the excerpt a few times, but failed to discern quite a number of words, to say the least. I discerned, however, some simple lines and tried to use them to find the entire song text, but Google returned no results.

I was able to understand that the song is about the European championship and mentions England, and I guess the meaning is that the Germans are very happy than England is not participating in the tournament, but I am highly unsure because I did not understand some words and may be missing some implications or connotations obvious to native German speakers. Even if my guess is correct, I am unsure whether this song should be taken as an implication of fear, although why else would the Germans be happy to avoid playing with England if the Germans were not afraid to play against that team? So I decided to ask here.

Here is the link to the audio file (MP3), and its length is 40 seconds. Does this excerpt imply that the Germans fear the English national football team, or what does it imply in relation to England?

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    Elder people love to remember Jürgen and his hit single Wir sind dabei from the 2002 world cup mocking the fact that the dutch team did not participate: youtube.com/watch?v=7bq4HxmtplM The song you refer to sounds like a production made by some (local) radio station. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:04
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    I am German and I do not fear the English (?) national (?) football team. Does this help? Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 22:03
  • I have noticed often that English people have strange ideas about how Germans view English national football teams. From the German point of view there is no rivalry and definitely no fear. The Dutch are the rivals (no idea what Dutch people think of that).
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


This song is about the (at that time upcoming) European championship 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. I don't remember having heard it before.
Traditionally Germans have respect for the English team but don't really fear, so I would guess it was rather meant as mocking than as relief.

  • Thanks a lot. >> Traditionally Germans have respect for the English team but don't really fear, so I would guess it was rather meant as mocking than as relief << I am confused as to how respect and a mocking can come together. Also, a phrasing like "we are happy England is not playing" seems to be a weird way to mock, as it is unclear as to exactly why the Germans are happy. Or is if the famous Schadenfreude?
    – Mitsuko
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:10
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    It is Schadenfreude which does not contradict having respect for such an old rival. A more famous example is the rivalry between the Dutch and the German football team. Here is a song from 2001: youtube.com/watch?v=SbGCfaREH_I "Ohne Holland fahr'n wir zur WM".
    – Paul Frost
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:37
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    Indeed, it is an instance of Schadenfreude, I believe. The German and English football fans are traditionally rivals. However, I do agree that it is ambiguous; because immediately before that, he talks about the "Kraftvergleich". It would be a reasonable interpretation to say that he is happy not because England cannot have fun (=Schadenfreude), but because Germany does not have to face England, of which he is afraid.
    – Cacambo
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:39
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    @Mitsuko Your confusion probably comes from an ambiguity in the word respect: It can be used in the meaning of esteem, you honor someone; or in case of a rivalry something like "I know you are a tough opponent, roughly my equal, I know I must take our competition serious but I also know I can beat you - I don't fear you." Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 22:23
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    @gnasher729 Actually I'm coming from the German perspective, too. I don't really know how the English see it. But you may well be right and rival might be too strong an expression. I was thinking about, e.g., the Wembley goal 1966, the Bloemfontein "reverse-Wembley" non-goal.
    – Cacambo
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 8:50

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