German Offense – In the endzone

While vertical and horizontal offense are the primary styles of strategies teams have adopted, there is still the “mythical” German offense that you hear about.  It was a lot more common to hear people talk about German offense a few years ago but we thought it would be interesting to post an article about how your team could use this strategy to confuse opponents. That being said, this article is just our interpretation of what German offense can look like.

The idea behind German offense is to isolate players and throw to space.  If you take this as the foundation, it is not far off from any offensive strategy.  Any good team will strive to isolate one player in an one on one situation and throw to open space to lead the receiver.  So what makes German offense a strategy is that you can apply this to every single pass, and really “isolate” each player.  Instead of having players in a stack, consider having every player except for the receiver flood out.  The next step is that the handler should throw to a space they want the receiver to go to.  The example below shows how you could use this strategy in the endzone.

In this play, you start from a vertical stack and each of the lane cutters flood out of the way hopefully drawing in their defenders.  The remaining offensive player has the entire center field to move around.  They should cut in any direction and the handler can then throw a nice hammer, or any type of throw, to open space for the receiver to run onto.  This should be very easy for the receiver as they have both the break and open side to work with.

While this example illustrates one strategy for the endzone it would likely be a different setup for the rest of the field.  For example, instead of having the lane cutters flood out, they could all be in horizontal formation.  The only difference is that the lane cutters must keep to the side lines to really isolate the one lane cutter.  Once the lane cutter receives the disc, they could repeat this strategy with the next lane cutter.

Key Points:

  1. Other lane cutters must keep their defenders out of the throwing lanes.
  2. The handlers must be very strong and be able to break force and throw over the top throws to space.  This would include hammers, scoobers, high release backhand/forehands etc…
  1. 10 Responses to “German Offense – In the endzone”

  2. I’ve actually run German offense at a hat tournament once–’twas the idea of Meg Hofner (of Alpha Cobra Squadron). I would call this play a sort of pseudo-German. For readers who are unfamiliar with the real thing, what you are essentially doing is isolating one player for the length of the field and making a bunch of easy throws to space. It’s really good if you have a dominant cutter who can handle.

    A big reason why it isn’t used more, I think, is because you don’t get much in the way of deep looks out of this offense. It’s a methodical, possession-based O that probably isn’t all that thrilling if you aren’t 1)handling or 2)the person being isolated in the middle of the field. As a handler, I like it.

    By Bear Killer on Jul 6, 2009

  3. Thanks for the comment. I think it’s a great style to throw the defence off since these days most know are expecting vertical or horizontal.

    By Andre on Jul 22, 2009

  4. Yeah, it can absolutely give fits to a defense. Many players have never even heard of this offense, let alone thought about defenses to throw at it. When I played this offense at the aforementioned hat tournament it was really quite effective, despite the heavy winds we played in. It’s a nice offense to have up your sleeve. I’d like to use it more, but I’m not the captain of any teams.

    By Bear Killer on Jul 22, 2009

  5. @bearkiller:
    The German offense is actually a very good hucking offense. While your German is cutting in the middle, the rest of the cutters are keeping their defenders busy deep. The second that the throw is released by a handler to the
    German, the 4 lane cutters are cutting back towards him to draw their defender in and then one will be cutting deep. The German will be wide open for a good length huck to the endzone to usually one deep cutter. If there is nothing open, the handlers move up to receive the dump.

    The danger is that timing is crucial for the back cutters. This is not something to do at Hat tourneys. We have tried. You can’t teach this type of timing without practice.

    By Blah on Jul 28, 2009

  6. We play in a small league with a mixed bag of skill levels. Last year, most of the teams, including the champions, played a 3-man cup zone on defense. Could this offense work against that?

    By JasonC on Aug 12, 2009

  7. Back in 2005 there was a great article about the German Offence on this blog:

    Really great article and in the comments you can even read something about the history of this strategy.

    By Syl on Sep 28, 2009

  8. The way my team played the German was if the defensive mids played in a manner that they faced away from the frisbee we would pick a person to be the German. The German would be stationary in the middle of the field and the handlers would give him a cue as to which way they were going to throw the disc, then they would throw it, still before any movement by the German. The German would then move and catch the disc, since the defense was reacting to movement by the German he would be able to recieve the disc 90+ percent of the time.

    By Teddy Taggs on Oct 18, 2009

  9. hey, i m german:-)! and i used t play the “german” O for some years in germany.

    1. the offense creates a standartsituation, so the O controlls the game by very save passes, since time and number of passes is not limited.

    2. it is best played in calm weather, no rain or to much wind.

    3. youll have 4 handlers on a horizontel line. the middle nes should be save throughrs and the disc should be keeped between these two before the disc gets savely throun into the middle to nr 1, the outer ones should be good runners.

    4. one player , good reciever in the middle of the field, and one reciever on each corner in he opposite endzone.

    5. as above dircribed the system relies on the pass from the middle two handlers to the player in the middle (the 1). the player in the middle in acually not moving so much and the trick is to trough the pass into the space which the offence player can reach faster than the def. player. so th reciever starts only after the pass is “up”.

    6. from this monent on the rest of the so far not moving team starts running.

    – the farest player in the 4 handler crew runs all the way into the opposite endzone.
    – the closest player (nr 2) in the opposite endzone starts running direkt toward the player with the dics, the former nr 1.
    – the farer player in the opposite endzone, runs to the other corner in the opposite endzone.

    this way you have 3 options for the player with the dics to play/through.

    7. if the player with the dics can t get rid via a save pass to the running players, he becomes one of the handerls. the whole team set up a “setup”:-) as discribes above around the player with the disc. no dumbpass needed.
    nr2 becomes the new nr 1 in the middle and the two players in the opposite endzone stay there.
    this “setup” gets everything back in order and control. it s crucical.

    8. there is a way of defense again this barbaric system, try to defend the nr1 with 2 defenders via a poach from the outer four handlers.

    have fun!

    By roman on Aug 11, 2010

  10. to me this seems like a variation of an iso endzone play. three handlers across, one cutter isolated in the middle of the field and the other cutters getting the hell out of the way. with good handlers, it should be a score almost every time.

    By matt on Oct 8, 2010

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