The DFB-Ligapokal, or German League Cup, was a German football competition that took place before the start of the Bundesliga season, featuring the top five teams of the previous Fußball-Bundesliga season and the winners of the DFB-Pokal in Germany. The cup has been known as the Premiere-Ligapokal since 2005, when Premiere, a German pay television network, took up sponsorship of the competition. The Ligapokal was not held in 2008 due to schedule crowding caused by the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. Instead, the T-Home German Supercup was held on 23 July 2008. The DFB-Ligapokal was not held on 2009 either, due to the German Football Association's decision to abolish it. For the last edition of the DFB-Ligapokal, in 2007, the fifth-placed Bundesliga team (Bayer Leverkusen) was dropped from the competition, replaced by the winner of the 2. Fußball-Bundesliga (Karlsruhe).
The Ligapokal was played between six teams, the top four teams of the Bundesliga, the German Cup winners, and the winner of the 2. Fußball-Bundesliga. If a team was doubly qualified by also winning the German Cup, the number five team in the Bundesliga took the spare place.
The tournament was a knock-out competition played over three rounds with two matches in the first two rounds, and a single final in the last round. The current Bundesliga champion and the German Cup winner entered the tournament in the second round. If the Bundesliga champion was also the cup winner, the Bundesliga runner-up skipped the first round. The four remaining teams played one match to determine who qualified for the next round. The four teams in the second round then played one match to determine which teams qualified for the final. The first round matches and the final took place in neutral venues, in the semi-finals the Bundesliga champion and the Cup winner played at home. The matches lasted 90 minutes, with a penalty shootout immediately following if the match was tied.
The Ligapokal was played as a unique event in 1972 because the Olympics in Munich had caused a postponement of the regular season kick-off. Until 1996 there was a single match between the German champions (Deutscher Meister) and German Cup winners (Pokalsieger), which was called German Supercup and is akin to the English FA Community Shield. A competition featuring four other big clubs who had not qualified for the Supercup, the Fuji-Cup, also existed from 1986.
In 1997 this was extended to a cup competition consisting of six teams, the top five placed teams from the Bundesliga plus the German Cup winners, with the cup winners and champions entering in the semifinals. If the cup winner was the same as any of the top five finishers in the league, the 6th place team was entitled to participate and the format was adjusted accordingly.
Starting with the 2007 cup, the participating teams were the top four teams from the Bundesliga, the German Cup winners, as well as the winners of the 2. Bundesliga.