Winning the german DFB cup in 1974
Winning the german DFB cup in 1974

The German Cup Competition "DFB-Pokal"

The "DFB-Pokal" or DFB Cup is a German knockout cup competition held annually. The German Football Association ("Deutscher Fussball Bund" or "DFB") is the governing body and gave the competition and trophy its name. After the Bundesliga championship, the DFB-Pokal is considered to be the second-most important club title in German football. It was first held in 1934/35 with 1. FC Nürnberg being the first ever team to win the trophy. Originally, the finals were held at differing venues each year, including Cologne, Stuttgart, Gelsenkirchen and Hannover. Five times, the competition climaxed at "Waldstadion" (now known as Commerzbank Arena) in Frankfurt, the last time in 1984. Since then, the finals were permanently moved to the Olympic stadium in Berlin.

Eintracht Frankfurt won the "DFB-Pokal" four times.


Mode

64 teams participate in the knockout competition, which usually lasts from August until June. There are no first and second leg matches. Extra time will be played if the scores are level after 90 minutes with a penalty shootout following if needed.

The 36 teams of the Bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga are automatically qualified for the tournament. The remaining slots are given to teams of the "3. Liga" (the third-highest football division in Germany), the cup winners of regional football associations ("Verbandspokalgewinner") and other clubs of regional associations.

The pairings of the DFB-Pokal's matches are drawn before each round. However, regarding the first two rounds, the drawing is not not entirely random.

Before the first round drawing, the teams are split into two pots of 32 teams each. One pot contains all the teams from the Bundesliga and the 14 best teams of the 2. Bundesliga. The other pot contains the remaining teams. Then the pairings are drawn, making sure that only teams from different pots will compete against each other. The teams from the pot with the lower-ranked teams will play at home.

For the second round, the teams are again divided into two pots according to the same principles. This time the pots do not have to be of equal size though, depending on the results of the first round. Amateur teams get paired with professional teams until one pot is empty. The remaining teams are then drawn from the non-empty pot. Amateur teams will automatically play at home. If two professional teams or, which is less likely, two amateur teams are matched, the team first drawn will play at home.

For the remaining rounds other than the final the teams are drawn from one pot, with the team first drawn playing at home. However, amateur teams will play at home if they are matched with a professional team.

The DFB-Pokal winner qualifies for the UEFA Europa League unless the winner already is qualified for the UEFA Champions League via the Bundesliga competition.