Today I have heard this word on YouTube (https://youtu.be/fVAxk225Ry0?t=142 - the second sentence). I tried to google it but found only few results, like "Union und FDP wirft sie vor, eine "Effenbergisierung der Gesellschaft" zu betreiben" here: https://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/gruenen-parteitag-bangen-um-rotkaeppchen-a-194897.html

What does it mean?

3 Answers 3


As "Effenbergisierung" is not an established word i can only speculate. Most likely it comes from Stefan Effenberg, who was a soccer player and quite a controversial figure throughout his career.

Among other things (this is not mentioned in the english Wikipedia) he gained notoriety by showing the "Stinkefinger" (an outstretched middle finger from a fist - a rude gesture) to the german fans in 1994.

Still, which of his many notorious affairs exactly this formulation alludes to is not clear.


As bakunin mentioned, Effenbergisierung is not an established word.

Because of that, I've gone through google to find examples of what different people mean by it:

  1. This taz article about Kobe Bryant:

Mit undiplomatisch-aggressiven Äußerungen bringt er die Leute gegen sich auf, seine Körpersprache auf dem Platz wirkt arrogant, das extensive Züngeln nach erfolgreichen Würfen kommt als Verspottung des Gegners rüber. Im selben Maße, wie sich die Lakers auf eine Wir-gegen-alle-Attitüde à la Bayern München festlegen, schreitet auch die Effenbergisierung des Kobe Bryant voran.

With undiplomatic, agressive statements, he inflames people against himself. His body language on the court appears arrogant, the excessive darting of his tongue after successful throws seems like mockery. Just as the Lakers adopt an "us against the world"-attitude like Bayern Munich, so preceeds the "Effenbergisierung" of Kobe Bryant.

Meaning: Perceived arrogance and being an ungrateful winner, being successful but disliked. Note that this is the "Effenbergisierung" of a specific person. (referencing bakunins point about Effenberg being controversial)

  1. This Zeit Article about a German rapper

raus aus dem ewigen Gerede von "Realness" und Straße, rein in die Boulevardisierung, wenn nicht gar Effenbergisierung des HipHop. "Ich bin so", rappt sie auf ihrer aktuellen Single, "dass die Bild -Zeitung über mich schreiben will"

from the constant talk about "keeping it real" and the streets to the tabloidization, if not "Effenbergisierung" of HipHop. "I am what the Bild-Newspaper wants to write about me", she raps on her new single.

Meaning: A superlative of tabloidization. Leaving the issues behind, to exist entirely within a tabloid media environment. (referencing how there was a time when Effenberg had most of his publicity not from playing football but from being involved in scandals)

  1. This article in the Hamburger Abendblatt about the German football team

Denn fast nichts nervt den Fußballlehrer so sehr wie die so gern diskutierte Frage nach den Leitwölfen, besser: nach den fehlenden Leitwölfen. [...] Dass die Effenbergisierung des Fußballs endgültig vorbei ist, scheint für den einen oder anderen schwer zu verstehen zu sein. Für Oliver Bierhoff, schon immer ein Gegner dieser klassischen Chef-Debatte, nicht:

Almost nothing annoys the football teacher as much as the often discussed question of alpha wolves or rather missing alpha wolves. [...] For some people it seems difficult to understand that the "Effenbergisierung" of football has come to an end. Not for Oliver Bierhoff, who has always been against the classical leadership debate.

Meaning: The existence and promotion of strong, opinionated (alpha) leaders. (referencing to how Effenberg shaped the clubs he played for)

As you can see, these examples vary quite a bit, so we need context to understand it.

The interpretation I lean towards is that foreign policy is increasingly discussed in talk shows and tabloids. That interpretation is supported by the mention of virologists who had a similar trajectory during the pandemic and also by the clip shown afterwards of an officer who looks and talks like he could be in a talk show. (*Turning people who usually wouldn't be considered celebrities into celebrities. I'm unsure if this accurately reflects Effenberg, because I'm sure there were celebrity footballers before him.

  • Great follow-up to my answer, thanks.
    – bakunin
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 13:39

Effenberg was one of the most prominent football players (Nationalmanschaft, Werder Bremen, Bayern München) beginning in the 90s, until towards the end of his sports career an escapade involving one of Lothar Matthäus' wifes was draged out and capitalised on in a "Skandal" in scandalsheets and respectable news outlets alike.

I am not usually one to nurture conspiracy myths, but FIFA has been shown before to meddle in the stakes ("alleged use of bribery, fraud and money laundering to corrupt the issuing of media and marketing rights for FIFA games", 2015 FIFA corruotion case, Wikipedia). IMHO, Stefan effin Berg could be an artist name targeted at English speaking audiences: f-ing is a productive emphatic infix and "effing" is attested in print as early as the 80s ("Oo the effing ell do you effing fink you effing are you effing sod?", New Scientist - 06. Jul 1978, pg. 45, via g-books).

The name hardly matters, except the hypothesis is showing my impression of Effenberg as a effin cool guy because he gets the women doesn't afraid of anything. Meanwhile, Matthäus was relatively old for as long as I can remember, implying he played well enough to remain recognized. He went on as a laughing stock — in no small part thanks to Stefan Raab (TV Total) — in his stint as coach for the New York Rangers and because of his many wives whose age difference is below the creepy formular (Y_xx < ½ Y_xy + 7).

Effenberg his remembrance outside of football is since influenced by some drunk public outburst and not much else. As far as the fan on the street is concerned, however, Effenberg was a player in any sense of the word.

That said, considering a former US president's indictment just this week and what the allegations are, it seems that Effenbergisierung is in full swing. Tax evasion is literally a crime on paper. Nevertheless, confident payment to a model of questionable morals, for lack of a better word, is a dogwhistle because the prevailing image of adult entertainment is dominance with black jack and hookers, with a suggestive understatement(t'is a thinker) to generate attraction to the rowdy image.

Effenbergisierung "Meaning: A superlative of tabloidization" (@xyldke, above) already hit the nail on the head. "Tabloid" is possibly broad enough to connote as it were the vulgar. So we can understand Effenbergisierung as metonymy and sometimes more specific than that. The more recent fake-news debate underlines the problem, seeing that tableoids are the prototype of not just the irrelevant gossip and click-bait headlinese but serialized miss-information upto conspiracy theories.

PS: I am emphatically not one to speculate about conspiracy theories. I can neither confirm nor deny that the word had rather referred to "Jörg Effenberg (Direktor bei der Commerzbank, Zentraler Stab Kredit)" who is once mentioned in a Abschlussbericht 2. Untersuchungsausschuss der 13. Wahlperiode ("DDR-Vermögen"), which continued from the 13. ("Treuhandanstalt") and continued in the 14. Wahlperiode ("Parteispenden"), pressumably having attended a hearing under criminal code as witness. It is quite a stretch, and there is no indication of any wrong doing, not the least because the search suggestion "Effenberg Vermögen" which lead me to this results must refer to the player's net-worth rather than a hidden type of treasure.

It just bares mention that the Treuhandanstalt, later Bundesanstalt für vereinigungsbedingte Sonderaufgaben, is often enough considered a scam.

And sell-out is approximately matching the description, indeed. In particular, @xyldke's second example, "Boulevardisierung" of a rapper, is most definitely considered "sell-out" in Hip-Hop jargon, also as a noun. However, Stefan Effenbergs relation to tabloids was likely on the receiving end at which he would try to make the best of it, coopting the opportunity for what it's worth.

His position as a leading figure within the football cosmos may be a different matter, although rather unlikely on its own to merrit a political figure of speech.

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