German soccer championship

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The German men's soccer championship has been played under the umbrella organization of the DFB since 1902 , and in the Bundesliga since the 1963/64 season . The first title holder was VfB Leipzig . From 1949 to 1991 , the soccer champions of the GDR were also determined under the umbrella organization of the DFV ; the first title holder here was the ZSG Horch Zwickau . The record holder with 30 championships is FC Bayern Munich , after replacing 1. FC Nürnberg as record champions in 1987 after 64 years.

Since 1974 , in the course of changing modes , since 1990 in a two-track and from 1997 in a single-track Bundesliga , the German women's soccer champions have been determined; The first title holder was TuS Wörrstadt . The record holder with twelve championships (including six GDR championships ) is the 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam . Since the women's Bundesliga was founded in 1990, 1. FFC Frankfurt has won the German championship seven times, making it the most frequent.

The Bayern Munich , it became the first club ever to win also in the same season (2014-15) with both the men's and the women's team championship. This double success was repeated in 2015/16. Otherwise only VfL Wolfsburg managed to win the championship for women and men , but in different seasons (men: 2008/09 ; women: 2012/13 ).

Competition mode for men


The German men's soccer champion was determined by the DFB in a final round until 1963. The GDR , founded in 1949, played its own champions with the introduction of the GDR Oberliga from 1949/50 to 1990/91. Since the 1963-64 season and the introduction of the Bundesliga , the German soccer champion is also in the Federal Republic played in a national league. The top clubs of the former GDR were integrated into the Bundesliga in 1991.

1902 to 1933

Linked years (e.g. 1903 ) usually lead - in this article - to articles that describe the respective DFB finals.

The championship finals were held in the knockout system until 1933 . The winner of each knockout round was determined in just one game, which was often set in a neutral place. If no decision was made after extra time, there was a replay, also on neutral ground. The DFB often did not stick to the principle of the neutral venue for financial reasons or avoided it by choosing the venue in the immediate vicinity of one of the opponents. In many cases this was done with the consent of the clubs involved, but as early as the second final round in 1904 , such a violation of the principle of neutrality after protests by eliminated teams led to the championship being abandoned and the championship annulled immediately before the final was played.

The champions of the local and regional football associations affiliated to the DFB were eligible to participate , including a one-off German football association abroad, namely the Association of Prague German Football Associations, whose champions, DFC Prague , even made it to the final in 1903 (without a previous game). Because of the small number of member associations, only six teams took part in the first German championship. The number of participants rose a year later to eight and in 1905 to eleven teams.

The rapid increase in the number of associations that joined, and in particular the large differences in sporting performance, prompted the DFB to reform in 1906 . From now on, the final round should be played with eight teams. This regulation was in effect until 1924 and corresponded to the number of member associations until 1911 (after that there were seven).

To the larger regional associations that have existed for some time

  • South (championship since 1898),
  • Middle (championship since 1902),
  • West (championship since 1903)
  • Berlin (including Brandenburg, championship since 1890, but mostly in several rival associations, see below)

three more had been added:

Only the respective regional champions and the reigning German champions as defending champions were eligible to participate.

The Berlin area was an exception until 1911 , where two, at times even three football associations competed with one another. Therefore, in addition to the master of the strongest association, the Association of Berliner Ballspielvereine , another Berlin-Brandenburg team from this region was allowed to take part as a representative of the two other rival associations ( Märkischer Fußball-Bund , Verband Berliner Athletik-Vereine ). It was not until 1911 that the Berlin associations merged, under pressure from the DFB.

Game operations were interrupted during the First World War.

There was only a change in 1925 when the number of finalists was increased to 16 teams. The respective regional associations were now allowed to send two, southern and western Germany even three teams to the final round. The defending champion was no longer automatically eligible to participate. The cup mode was retained.

Until 1933, not only the German championship, but with occasional exceptions also the respective regional championships were held in the form of a final round. In the regions there was usually a large number of the highest game classes ( district leagues , Gauligen , district classes or district leagues ). Most of them were in the Central Region with 20 to 30 leagues, the champions of which then played off the Central German champions in a mammoth final. In total, there were over 50 top divisions in Germany before 1933.

1933 to 1945

The takeover of power by the NSDAP led to a comprehensive reform of gaming operations in Germany. The large traditional regional associations were still forced to dissolve in 1933. Game operations were now organized in 16 football districts, with a single-track Gauliga set up as the top division . The 16 Gauliga champions were qualified for the final round of the German championship.

The mode of the championship finals has also been changed. The 16 teams initially played the respective group winners in four preliminary round groups in the first and second legs, who determined the German champions in the knockout system (cup mode). This reform represented an enormous process of concentration in German football.

The number of Gaue remained constant until 1938, then their number increased, initially through the annexation of new territories (e.g. Alsace , Austria , Sudetenland ), then through the division of the Gaue, as long trips to away games were not due to the Second World War more could be done. So there were a total of 29 districts in Germany in the 1942/43 season ( 1943/44 31 districts) and they returned to the pure cup mode in the 1941/42 finals . The 1944/45 season was canceled prematurely because of the Second World War.

1945 to 1949

After the Second World War, gaming began to develop in the respective occupation zones , in which the speed at which the so-called zone championships were held at different speeds: American and French occupation zones 1946–1948, Berlin 1946–1950, British occupation zones 1947–1948, and Soviet occupation zones 1948 - 1949 .

In 1948 the representatives of the respective occupation zones took part in the first German post-war championship. The western occupation zones each provided two representatives and Berlin one representative, and the Soviet occupation zone should also provide one representative, but SG Planitz was forbidden to participate. It was the penultimate attempt for a long time to host an all-German football championship. In the spring of 1950 negotiations between the DFB and the football division of the DS over a joint championship led to the DFB increasing the field of participants to 16 in order to enable three GDR teams to participate. However, the negotiations were broken off without result. In the following years the championship operation developed differently in the GDR and in the Federal Republic .

1949 to 1991 in the GDR

From 1949 the nationwide league was introduced in the GDR (in the 1949/50 season initially under the name "DS League" and still without Berlin clubs, from 1950/51 then as the "Oberliga" and with the East Berlin teams, the from 1950 no longer participated in the Berlin championship ). From 1949 onwards, the GDR champions were determined in the league game. The league initially comprised 14 teams at its start, increased to 19 clubs by the 1951/52 season and then reduced to 14 clubs by 1954. Since then, the league played until its dissolution after reunification in 1991 (from October 3, 1990 under the name NOFV-Oberliga ) consistently with 14 teams.

1948 to 1963 in the Federal Republic of Germany

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the DFB could not get through to a national top division. Up until the founding of the Bundesliga in 1963, there were initially six and from 1950 five football leagues (south, southwest, west, north and Berlin).

Until 1950, the German champion was determined at the end of the season between the qualified clubs in cup mode. Starting in 1951, a preliminary round with two groups of four was played in the return leg, both group winners contested the final of the German championship. The five league champions were qualified for the preliminary round. The other three starting places were determined between the four runners-up (excluding the one from Berlin) in qualifying matches.

This principle was deviated from in a few years. Due to the upcoming World Cup in 1954 , the number of final round participants was reduced to six for scheduling reasons and played in a single round (instead of a round trip). In 1957, the DFB attempted to generally carry out the preliminary round groups in a single round, but this did not prove itself. For this reason, single rounds were limited to the 1958 and 1962 World Cups .

1963 until today in the Federal Republic of Germany

In 1963, the Federal Republic was also the last country in Europe to have a single-track nationwide league operation; The decisive factor was the disappointing 1962 World Cup. After the tournament, the delegates of the DFB Bundestag decided on July 28, 1962 to found the Bundesliga , which started with 16 clubs in the 1963/64 season. Just two years later, the league was temporarily increased to 18 clubs: Due to the forced relegation of Hertha BSC , the initially uncertain dealings with the two actual relegated athletes were resolved in this way. This extent of the Bundesliga lasted until reunification .

Since the German unification in 1990, an all-German football champion has been determined again. The Bundesliga was retained, the first two teams in the GDR Oberliga, renamed Oberliga Nordost, were accepted into the Bundesliga, so that it played with 20 clubs in the 1991/92 season. Just one year later, however, the league was reduced to the previous and still existing number of 18 clubs. The Bundesliga is thus the only one of the top leagues in Europe that does not include 20 clubs, which is partly due to the fact that it is possible to take a sufficiently long winter break.

Competition mode for women

Map of German soccer champions.png

The German women's soccer champion was played in a championship finals until 1990. Since then, the champions have been determined in a national league after the Bundesliga was founded .


In the first final round of the German championship , the champions of the 16 regional associations were divided into four groups of four teams each. The four teams in a group played a mini-tournament in the league system . The four group winners then determined the German champions in the knockout system. The semifinals were played in one game.

1975 to 1976

The 16 participating teams were again divided into four groups. However, the knockout system was played with a return leg from the start. From the semi-finals, like 1974, the champions were played.

1977 to 1990

From 1977 on, the German champions were completely played in the knockout system. In the eighth, quarter and semi-finals there were home and away legs. In 1977, 1978 and 1979 the final was also played in a home and return mode. Then the final was played in a final.

In 1985 the Regionalliga West was founded. A year later, the North German Association followed suit with the Oberliga Nord . In both leagues, the best-placed teams from the individual national associations qualified.

1991 to 1997

The DFB introduced the women's Bundesliga in 1990 . It initially consisted of two groups of ten teams each. In the course of reunification, both groups were increased to eleven teams in the 1991/92 season, but were reduced to ten in the following year.

The group winners and runners-up reached the semi-finals. There the group winner of the northern group met the second of the southern group and vice versa. The winners from the first and second legs reached the final, which was played in a single final.

1998 until today

In the summer of 1997, the two-track Bundesliga became a single-track league with twelve teams. The number of teams has remained unchanged to this day, even if discussions about downsizing the league arise again and again.

Previous German soccer champions

The Victoria -
trophy for the champion
from 1903 to 1944
The championship trophy - trophy for the master
from 1949


Between 1903 and 1944, the German soccer champions received the Victoria as a trophy after the final . Since 1949, the initially provisional championship trophy has been awarded as an award at the end of the season . Since the Victoria did not reappear until 1990 and is also not suitable for today's championship celebrations, the championship trophy had become so established that it was without a doubt passed on after 1990. Since then, at the request of the respective master, the Victoria can also be awarded in a separate ceremony.

Master stars

Since the 2004/05 season, the German Football League has given clubs in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga the opportunity to show their championship successes on their playing attire in response to an imprint on the VfB Stuttgart jerseys . This is done in the form of small stars, the number of which depends on the number of championships won in the Bundesliga (i.e. from the 1963/64 season): From three titles you are entitled to wear one star, two stars are available from five titles, three stars from ten titles and four stars from 20 titles.

The fact that this DFL regulation only applies to championships in the Federal Republic of Germany after the introduction of the Bundesliga in 1963, although all championships since 1903, including those from the GDR, are recognized by the DFB as official and equivalent, has been repeatedly criticized. Therefore, in the area below the two national leagues, which is still organized by the DFB, other forms of application have emerged that take into account all championships since 1903.

Stars for men's champions
number Club (championships)
4th FC Bayern Munich (29)
2 Borussia Dortmund (5)
2 Borussia Moenchengladbach (5)
1 SV Werder Bremen (4)
1 Hamburger SV (3)
1 VfB Stuttgart (3)

Stars for women's champions
See: Women's Bundesliga


Web links

Commons : German Football Championship  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Single references

  1. There were also soccer championships of the German Gymnastics Association , the Workers' Gymnastics and Sports Federation and denominational associations.
  2. ↑ In 1911 the Association of Berlin Ball Game Clubs merged with the Märkischer Fußball-Bund . Contrary to what is often quoted, the territory of the Reich was not "divided into seven regions"; the DFB did not have this authority due to its federal structure. He could only try to influence the smaller member associations, to come together to form larger associations, which in some cases (for example with the NFV ) was successful.
  3. Brandenburg had a two-, sometimes even single-track league, as did the north in 1913/14 (single-track) and 1920/21 (double-track)