Official logo of the Handball-Bundesliga
|Number of teams||19|
|Level on pyramid||Level 1|
|International cup(s)||Champions League
|Current champions||THW Kiel (2013–14)|
|Most championships||THW Kiel 19 titles|
The Handball-Bundesliga (HBL) is the top German professional handball league. The league has been sponsored by Toyota since 2007 and therefore the league was called the Toyota Handball-Bundesliga. Since 2012 it is sponsorsed by the Deutsche Kreditbank AG (DKB) and therefore the name has changed into DKB Handball-Bundesliga. The winners of the Handball-Bundesliga are recognised as the German handball champions.
The Bundesliga was installed with the 1966/67 season and initially operated with two regional sections, North and South. Since 1977 the Bundesliga has operated with a single section first division, currently composed of eighteen clubs. In 1981 a 2.Bundesliga was installed as a new second division, supplanting the Regionalliga which became the third tier. The 2.Bundesliga used to consist of two (resp. three in the first two years after the German reunification) sections north and south for thirty years. Starting with the 2011/12 season the 2.Bundesliga is run in a single section consisting of twenty teams.
The season has 36 game days (or weeks) and is played as a Round-robin tournament without playoffs or a final. The season starts in August or September and ends in May.
The first, second and third placed teams play in the EHF Champions League next season. The fourth placed team has a chance to qualify for the Champions League. Fifth placed teams play in the EHF Cup. The seedings are subject of change, in case a German team wins the Champions League, the EHF Cup or the EHF Cup Winner's Cup because each winner of those tournaments is granted an automatic start in next years tournament without taking one of the leagues spots. It also can change if the DHB-Pokal Champion has one of the league spots for the Champions League or the EHF Cup.
Relegation and Promotion
Until 2011 the two last placed teams would relegate to the 2. Bundesliga for the next season, either in its northern or the southern section. The sixteenth placed team used to play in a home and home expulsion against the winner of the expulsion between the two second placed teams of the northern and the southern section of the 2. Bundesliga. The champions of the second division sections received a spot for the Bundesliga automatically.
Starting with the 2011/12 season, the bottom three teams of the Bundesliga will directly be relegated to the 2. Bundesliga, while the top three teams of the 2. Bundesliga will be directly promoted to the Bundesliga.
The eighteen teams of the 2014–15 season. THW Kiel are the defending champions.
|Frisch Auf Göppingen||Göppingen||EWS Arena||5,600|
|TuS Nettelstedt-Lübbecke||Lübbecke||Kreissporthalle Lübbecke||3,250|
|HSV Hamburg||Hamburg||O2 World Hamburg||13,296|
|HSG Wetzlar||Wetzlar||RITTAL Arena||4,412|
|Rhein-Neckar Löwen||Mannheim||SAP Arena||13,200|
|TSV Hannover-Burgdorf||Hannover||AWD Hall||4,460|
|SG BBM Bietigheim||Bietigheim-Bissingen||EgeTrans Arena||4,583|
|HC Erlangen||Erlangen||Arena Nürnberger Versicherung||8,130|
The complete list of the German handball champions since 1948.