How To Say ‘Good Luck’ in German

good luck in german

Being able to wish someone ‘good luck’ in German is a nice gesture and a useful phrase to learn. Maybe someone you know is starting a new job, perhaps they are going to a job interview or going on a round the world trip. There could be an upcoming competition or sports event or even an exam.

No matter what the occasion, being able to say ‘good luck’ in German something you should add to your ‘to learn’ list. So with all that said, let’s get started, auf geht’s!

Viel Glück

Meaning: Good luck

Viel Glück

The most common way to wish someone ‘good luck’ in German is viel Glück which translates literally as ‘much luck’ or ‘lots of luck’. You can use this for practically any situation, formal or informal. Viel Glück can be said on it’s own as an exclamation, or as part of a sentence to be more specific:

Viel Glück morgen

Meaning: Good luck tomorrow

Viel Glück morgen

If you don’t want to be too specific about what you’re wishing someone good luck for, you can just specify the time of the event in question:

Viel Glück heuteGood luck today
Viel Glück morgenGood luck tomorrow
Viel Glück nächste WocheGood luck next week
Viel Glück für die ZukunftGood luck in the future

Viel Glück für die Prüfung

Meaning: Good luck for the exam

Viel Glück für die Prüfung

You can also say viel Glück bei der Prüfung (good luck at the exam). In this instance, für and bei and fairly interchangeable. Remember to switch to the dative case if you use bei.

Viel Glück beim Wettbewerb

Meaning: Good luck at the competition

Viel Glück beim Wettbewerb

Fairly self explanatory. If you want to add in a time preposition, you will need to phrase it in German as ‘good luck at tomorrow’s competition’ rather than ‘good luck at the competition tomorrow’.

Viel Glück beim heutigen WettbewerbGood luck at today’s competition
Viel Glück für den morgigen WettbewerbGood luck for tomorrow’s competition

Viel Glück in Ihrem neuen Job

Meaning: Good luck in your new job (formal)

Viel Glück in Ihrem neuen Job

It’s always nice to wish someone luck in their new job. You may need to use the formal version above for work colleagues. If you are talking to a friend or family, you can use the informal version:

Viel Glück in deinem neuen JobGood luck in your new job (informal)
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Viel Erfolg

Meaning: I wish you success / Good luck

Viel Erfolg

There is a second way to wish someone ‘good luck’ in German and that is to use the phrase viel Erfolg. Erfolg means ‘success’ and you already know viel means ‘much’ or ‘a lot’.

While viel Erfolg and viel Glück are fairly interchangeable, viel Erfolg has an even stronger feeling than viel Glück. When you say viel Erfolg you are wishing someone a lot of success and you really hope they succeed. With viel Glück you are wishing someone luck, so it’s a little less certain whether they’ll succeed.

This phrase is particularly good for job interviews, exams and so on.

Again, it can be used on it’s own as an exclamation, or you can use it in a longer sentence:

Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Erfolg in Ihrem neuen JobWe wish you every success in your new job (formal)

Gutes Gelingen

Meaning: I wish you success / Good luck

The phrase gutes Gelingen is used in the same way as viel Erfolg. There’s no difference between the two sayings.

Gelingen (the noun) means ‘success’ and comes from the verb gelingen meaning ‘to succeed / to go smoothly / to be successful’.

Use it in the same way as viel Erfolg.

Alles Gute

Meaning: All the best / Good luck

Alles gute

Alles Gute is another commonly heard phrase that can be used in place of ‘good luck’. Let’s take a look at some example sentences:

Alles Gute für deine ReiseAll the best for your trip
Ich wünsche dir alles GuteI wish you all the best
Alles Gute für SamstagGood luck for Saturday

Guten Start

Meaning: Good luck / All the best

Most often used to wish someone luck on their first day at a new job or perhaps their first day at school or university. Literally translates as ‘good start’, which makes sense when you think about it.

How to Say ‘Wish Me Luck!’ in German

If the situation is reversed, and you’re the one needing a bit of luck, how would you say ‘wish me luck’ in German? Well for this phrase we can use a common German idiom:

Drück mir die DaumenCross your fingers for me

You probably know the common English expression ‘cross your fingers’, well the German version actually translates as ‘squeeze the thumbs’ and is gestured with the hands by closing the thumb into the fist.

You can also use it to wish someone else good luck:

Ich drücke dir die DaumenI’ll cross my fingers for you

So now you know 3 easy ways to say ‘good luck’ in German, for all occasions. Why not try some of these phrases out next time a German speaking friend or family member has an important event ahead. And if your ‘good luck’ wish has worked, learn how to say congratulations in German.

If you got to the end of this post, congratulations! I want to give you an extra tip:

Did you know? In Germany the pig, Schwein, is considered lucky! Germans even have a saying: Schwein gehabt! (had a pig!) which means ‘That was lucky!’ So now the picture at the top of this post makes sense!

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