The Germans love their football. Passionately, obsessively and in ways that baffle me as an non-soccer watching Australian. Even if you (like me), aren’t a big fan of the sport, you would still likely be aware of Germany’s status in the world game. Some of my students (who know very little of world geography) can even recognise Munich, Bavaria as home of the successful team Bayern-München.

With the FIFA World Cup 2018 coming up in just a few weeks there is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the sport as an important part of German culture.  I personally will using this an excuse to play football with my students, but I won’t be finding a ball and going out on the school oval … we won’t even be leaving the classroom.

How? I hear you ask. Most people are familiar with Foosball, the table soccer game with players attached to rotating bars. While that could be an option, my preferred indoor football game is Tipp-Kick.

Tipp-Kick is a German board game, similar to the classic Australian cricket game Test Match. Invented in the early 1920s Tipp-Kick has been produced and sold by the Mieg family for almost 100 years. The game has cult status in Germany and there are national competitions  for die-hard fans. The game comprises of a mat shaped like a soccer field, a pair of goal nets, metal figurine players and a rather remarkable ball.


In the classic version of the game each team has two players, a goal keeper (who can dive in different directions to protect the goal) and a kicker. Many of the rules play out much like a regular soccer game but the ball determines who has the next kick. It is a 14 sided die with square and triangular surfaces, half is black, half is white and the colour that is on the top panel of the ball once it stops rolling determines who kicks next.

Each game comes with a comprehensive rule book and, after a discussion of the rules before play starts, students generally are quite good at self-refereeing the games as they play. My students love Tipp-Kick! When we play we normally have a class competition, complete with team names and a leader board. I’ve also started a lunch time Tipp-Kick club and have quite a few regular participants coming to play.

I will be rolling out the fields in a few weeks time to embrace the World Cup and get through our eleventh week of term two, for some fun at the end of a very long term. For those concerned about the educational value of playing the game in class time – you can definitely link the game to German language and culture by creating a unit around the World Cup, looking at the countries involved, the language of playing sports and integrate the playing of the game into your unit.

If you’re coming along to the SAGTA conference the wonderful Paula and Val will be presenting a session on how to incorporate the World Cup and Tipp-Kick into your German language lessons. Registration for the conference can be found here.

To find the game head to https://www.tipp-kick.com/


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