|Current season or competition:
|No. of teams||64|
|Most recent champion(s)||Borussia Dortmund (3rd title)|
|Most titles||Bayern Munich (15 titles)|
The DFB-Pokal (IPA: [ˈdeː.ɛf.beː poˈkaːl]) or DFB Cup is a German knockout football cup competition held annually. Sixty‑four teams participate in the competition, including all clubs from the Bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga. It is considered the second most important national title in German football after the Bundesliga championship. The DFB-Pokal is run by the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (English: German Football Association). The competition runs from August till June. The winner qualifies for the DFL-Supercup and the UEFA Europa League unless the winner already qualifies for the UEFA Champions League.
The competition was founded in 1935, then called Tschammer-Pokal. The first titleholder were 1. FC Nuremberg. In 1937 Schalke were the first team to win the double. The Tschammer-Pokal was suspended in 1945 due to World War II and disbanded with the demise of Nazi-Germany. In 1952–53 the cup was reinstated as the DFB-Pokal, named after the Deutscher Fußball-Bund and was won by Rot-Weiss Essen. Bayern Munich have won the most titles, with 15 wins. The most recent winners are Borussia Dortmund.
The competition format has varied considerably since the inception of the Tschammer-Pokal in 1935.
The DFB-Pokal begins with a round of 64 teams. The 36 teams of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, along with the top four finishers of the 3. Liga are automatically qualified for the tournament. Of the remaining slots 21 are given to the cup winners of the regional football associations. The three remaining slots are given to the three regional associations with the most men's teams. They may assign the slot as they see fit but usually give it to the runner up in the association cup. As every team is entitled to participate in local tournaments which qualify for the association cups every team can in principle compete in the DFB-Pokal. Reserve teams like Borussia Dortmund II are not permitted to enter.
The pairings for the DFB Cup are not entirely random as the teams are split into two pots of 32 teams each. One pot contains all the amateur teams including teams from the 3. Liga and the teams just being promoted to the 2. Bundesliga. The other pot contains the teams from the Bundesliga and the teams of the 2. Bundesliga who have not just been promoted. Therefore, in the first round of the cup each professional team plays an amateur team. Since 1982, the amateur generally plays at home when facing a professional team.
For the second round the teams are again divided into two pots according to the same principles. This time the pots don't 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 nonempty pot with the team first drawn playing at home.
Match Rules 
Historically the number of participants in the main tournament has varied between four from 1956 until 1960 and 128 from 1973 through 1982 resulting in tournaments of two to seven rounds. Since the inception of the Bundesliga in 1963 all clubs from the Bundesliga are automatically qualified for the DFB-Pokal as are all clubs from the 2. Bundesliga since its inception in 1974. Reserve sides have for most of the time been allowed to participate in the DFB-Pokal but are excluded since 2008.
The final has been held at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin every season since 1985. Before 1985, the host of the final was determined on short notice. In the decision, the German Football Association took into consideration the ease with which supporters of both finalists could reach the site.
Originally the cup games were held over two times 45 minutes with two times 15 minutes extra time in case of a draw. If the score was still level after 120 minutes the game was replayed with the home field right reversed. In the 1939 Tschammer-Pokal the semi-final between SV Waldhof Mannheim and Wacker Wien was a draw three times before the game was decided by lot. The German Football Association decided to hold a penalty shootout if the replay was another draw after a similar situation arose in the 1970 cup, when the match between Alemannia Aachen and SV Werder Bremen had to be decided by lot after two draws.
In 1971–72 and 1972–73 the matches were held over two legs. The second leg was extended by two times 15 minutes if the aggregate was a draw after both legs. In case the extension brought no decision a penalty shootout was held.
When in 1977 the final 1. FC Köln vs. Hertha BSC had to be replayed this led to great logistic difficulties. In the aftermath the DFB decided not to let cup finals to be replayed in the future instead holding a penalty shootout after extra time. Eventually this change was extended to all cup games in 1991.
International Qualification 
Since 1960, the winner of the DFB-Pokal qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup. If the Cup winner qualified for the European Club Champions Cup, the losing finalist moved into the European Cup Winners Cup.
After the season 1998–99, the winner of the DFB-Pokal moved into next season's UEFA Europa League (called the UEFA Cup until 2009). If the winner qualifies through the Bundesliga for the Champions League, the losing finalist gets the spot. If both finalists qualify for the Champions League, the best placed team of the Bundesliga which is not already qualified for at least the Europa League gets the spot.
The first German cup was held in 1935. It was then called von Tschammer und Osten Pokal, or short Tschammerpokal, named after Reichssportführer (Sports Chief of the Reich) Hans von Tschammer und Osten. The first final was contested between the two most successful clubs of that era, the 1. FC Nuremberg and Schalke 04, with Nuremberg winning 2 – 0. After the last Tschammerpokal was held in 1943 the cup was not held for almost 10 years, being re-introduced by the German Football Association in 1952 under its current name DFB-Pokal. In 1965, the original trophy, Goldfasanen-Pokal, was substituted by the trophy which is still awarded today, because the original reminded DFB President Peco Bauwens of the Nazi era.
Giant killing 
Originally, the DFB-Pokal was a competition open to clubs from the top divisions of German football only. This continued after the establishment of the Fußball-Bundesliga in 1963. Semi-professional and amateur clubs could only enter the competition from 1974 onwards, when it was enlarged. Up until 2008, only the top two divisions of German football, the Bundesliga and 2. Fußball-Bundesliga, were fully professional but from 2008, with the establishment of the 3. Liga, the third tier also became fully professional.
From the start, the new match ups Bundesliga versus amateurs, most usually third division clubs, became a source of surprises. Often titled the "mother of all cup sensations" (German: Die Mutter aller Pokalsensationen), was Hamburger SV's second round loss to VfB Eppingen in 1974, the first instance of an amateur side knocking out a Bundesliga club. It took until 1990 for a fourth division side to achieve the same, when SpVgg Fürth took Borussia Dortmund out of the competition. Further milestones were the reserve side of Hertha BSC, Hertha BSC II, reaching the cup final in 1993, a first for a third division club and a reserve team. In 1997 Eintracht Trier proved too strong for both the UEFA-Cup and Champions League winner, knocking FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund out of the competition. In 2000, the 1. FC Magdeburg became the first fourth division side to eliminate two Bundesliga clubs in one season.
Surprise results in the cup attract a strong media covarage in Germany and, at times, abroad. When TSV Vestenbergsgreuth took out FC Bayern Munich, coached by Giovanni Trapattoni at the time, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on its front page "Club di dilettanti elimina Trapattoni".
Having won 15 titles, Bayern Munich has been the most successful team in the cup since they won their fourth title in 1969. Fortuna Düsseldorf established a record for consecutive German Cup match victories (18 straight victories between 1978 and 1981, taking the trophy in 1979 and 1980). Schalke 04 holds the record for the biggest win in a DFB-Pokal final. They won 5–0 against Kaiserslautern in 1972 and 5–0 against Duisburg in 2011.
|1935||1. FC Nuremberg||Schalke 04||2–0||08/12/35||Düsseldorf||55,000|
|1936||VfB Leipzig||Schalke 04||2–1||03/01/37||Berlin||70,000|
|1937||Schalke 04||Fortuna Düsseldorf||2–1||09/01/38||Köln||72,000|
|1938||Rapid Wien||FSV Frankfurt||3–1||08/01/39||Berlin||38,000|
|1939||1. FC Nuremberg||Waldhof Mannheim||2–0||08/04/40||Berlin||60,000|
|1940||Dresdner SC||1. FC Nuremberg||2–1 aet||01/12/40||Berlin||60,000|
|1941||Dresdner SC||Schalke 04||2–1||02/10/41||Berlin||65,000|
|1942||1860 Munich||Schalke 04||2–0||15/11/42||Berlin||80,000|
|1943||First Vienna||Luftwaffen-SV Hamburg||3–2 aet||31/10/43||Stuttgart||45,000|
|1953||Rot-Weiss Essen||Alemannia Aachen||2–1||01/05/53||Düsseldorf||40,000|
|1954||VfB Stuttgart||1. FC Köln||1–0 aet||17/04/54||Ludwigshafen||60,000|
|1955||Karlsruher SC||Schalke 04||3–2||21/05/55||Braunschweig||25,000|
|1957||Bayern Munich||Fortuna Düsseldorf||1–0||29/12/57||Augsburg||42,000|
|1958||VfB Stuttgart||Fortuna Düsseldorf||4–3 aet||16/10/58||Kassel||28,000|
|1959||Schwarz-Weiss Essen||Borussia Neunkirchen||5–2||27/12/59||Kassel||20,000|
|1960||Borussia Mönchengladbach||Karlsruher SC||3–2||05/10/60||Düsseldorf||50,000|
|1962||1. FC Nuremberg||Fortuna Düsseldorf||2–1 aet||29/08/62||Hannover||41,000|
|1964||1860 Munich||Eintracht Frankfurt||2–0||13/06/64||Stuttgart||45,000|
|1965||Borussia Dortmund||Alemannia Aachen||2–0||22/05/65||Hannover||55,000|
|1966||Bayern Munich||Meidericher SV||4–2||04/06/66||Frankfurt||62,000|
|1968||1. FC Köln||Bochum||4–1||09/06/68||Ludwigshafen||60,000|
|1969||Bayern Munich||Schalke 04||2–1||14/06/69||Frankfurt||60,000|
|1970||Kickers Offenbach||1. FC Köln||2–1||29/08/70||Hannover||50,000|
|1971||Bayern Munich||1. FC Köln||2–1 aet||19/06/71||Stuttgart||71,000|
|1973||Borussia Mönchengladbach||1. FC Köln||2–1 aet||23/06/73||Düsseldorf||69,000|
|1974||Eintracht Frankfurt||Hamburg||3–1 aet||17/08/74||Düsseldorf||52,000|
|1975||Eintracht Frankfurt||MSV Duisburg||1–0||21/06/75||Hannover||43,000|
|1977||1. FC Köln||Hertha Berlin||1–1 aet
|1978||1. FC Köln||Fortuna Düsseldorf||2–0||15/04/78||Gelsenkirchen||70,000|
|1979||Fortuna Düsseldorf||Hertha Berlin||1–0 aet||23/06/79||Hannover||56,000|
|1980||Fortuna Düsseldorf||1. FC Köln||2–1||04/06/80||Gelsenkirchen||56,000|
|1982||Bayern Munich||1. FC Nuremberg||4–2||01/05/82||Frankfurt||61,000|
|1983||1. FC Köln||Fortuna Köln||1–0||11/06/83||Köln||61,000|
|1984||Bayern Munich||Borussia Mönchengladbach||1–1 (7–6 pen)||31/05/84||Frankfurt||61,000|
|1985||Bayer Uerdingen||Bayern Munich||2–1||26/05/85||Berlin||70,000|
|1986||Bayern Munich||VfB Stuttgart||5–2||03/05/86||Berlin||76,000|
|1989||Borussia Dortmund||Werder Bremen||4–1||24/06/89||Berlin||76,000|
|1991||Werder Bremen||1. FC Köln||1–1 (4–3 pen)||22/06/91||Berlin||73,000|
|1992||Hannover 96||B. Mönchengladbach||0–0 (4–3 pen)||23/05/92||Berlin||76,000|
|1993||Bayer Leverkusen||Hertha Berlin (A)||1–0||12/06/93||Berlin||76,000|
|1994||Werder Bremen||Rot-Weiss Essen||3–1||14/05/94||Berlin||76,000|
|1995||Borussia Mönchengladbach||VfL Wolfsburg||3–0||24/06/95||Berlin||75,700|
|1997||VfB Stuttgart||Energie Cottbus||2–0||14/06/97||Berlin||76,400|
|1998||Bayern Munich||MSV Duisburg||2–1||16/05/98||Berlin||75,800|
|1999||Werder Bremen||Bayern Munich||1–1 (5–4 pen)||12/06/99||Berlin||75,841|
|2000||Bayern Munich||Werder Bremen||3–0||06/05/00||Berlin||76,000|
|2001||Schalke 04||Union Berlin||2–0||26/05/01||Berlin||73,011|
|2002||Schalke 04||Bayer Leverkusen||4–2||11/05/02||Berlin||70,000|
|2004||Werder Bremen||Alemannia Aachen||3–2||29/05/04||Berlin||71,682|
|2005||Bayern Munich||Schalke 04||2–1||28/05/05||Berlin||74,349|
|2006||Bayern Munich||Eintracht Frankfurt||1–0||29/04/06||Berlin||74,349|
|2007||1. FC Nuremberg||VfB Stuttgart||3–2 aet||26/05/07||Berlin||74,220|
|2008||Bayern Munich||Borussia Dortmund||2–1 aet||19/04/08||Berlin||74,244|
|2009||Werder Bremen||Bayer Leverkusen||1–0||30/05/09||Berlin||72,244|
|2010||Bayern Munich||Werder Bremen||4–0||15/05/10||Berlin||72,954|
|2011||Schalke 04||MSV Duisburg||5–0||21/05/11||Berlin||75,708|
|2012||Borussia Dortmund||Bayern Munich||5–2||12/05/12||Berlin||75,708|
Performance by club 
|Bayern Munich||15||3||1957, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010|
|Werder Bremen||6||4||1961, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009|
|Schalke 04||5||7||1937, 1972, 2001, 2002, 2011|
|1. FC Köln||4||6||1968, 1977, 1978, 1983|
|1. FC Nuremberg||4||2||1935, 1939, 1962, 2007|
|Eintracht Frankfurt||4||2||1974, 1975, 1981, 1988|
|Hamburg||3||3||1963, 1976, 1987|
|Borussia Dortmund||3||2||1965, 1989, 2012|
|Borussia Mönchengladbach||3||2||1960, 1973, 1995|
|VfB Stuttgart||3||2||1954, 1958, 1997|
|Fortuna Düsseldorf||2||5||1979, 1980|
|Karlsruher SC||2||2||1955, 1956|
|Dresdner SC||2||–||1940, 1941|
|TSV 1860 Munich||2||–||1942, 1964|
|First Vienna FC||1||–||1943|
|Hertha BSC II||–||1||–|
East German Cup (1949–91) 
East Germany also had its own national cup: the FDGB Cup, the cup of the Freie Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund, the association of the East German trade unions. It was introduced in 1949 and awarded annually until 1991 after German reunification in 1990 led to the merger of the football leagues of the two Germanys.
Women's German Cup 
Media coverage 
In Australia the DFB-Pokal was broadcast by Setanta Sports until the 2009–10 season.
In the United Kingdom, selected ties are broadcast by ESPN for the 2012-13 season.
- "DFB Cup Men – Mode". DFB. 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
- "Internationale Vereinswettbewerbe: Qualifikation zum Europa-Cup" (in German). dfb.de. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
- "Wie alles begann..." (in German). fussballdaten.de. 8 September 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
- "The Trophy". DFB. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
- "Das ewige Duell: David gegen Goliath" [The eternal duell: David versus Goliath] (in German). Bundesliga. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Eine Chance für alle" (in German). Westdeutscher Rundfunk. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- Die zehn größten Pokalsensationen (German) www.sportal.de: The ten greatest cup sensations, published: 3 March 2009, accessed: 21 October 2011
- DFB Pokal German Cup page from DFB (German)
- DFB Pokal German Cup page from DFB (English)
- League321.com - National cup results. (English)