German amateur football championship

The German amateur football championship was a national football competition in Germany organized by the German Football Association (German: Deutscher Fußball-Bund; DFB) and in existence from 1950 to 1998.

German amateur football championship
Flag of Germany Germany
Number of Seasons
Replaced by
Competition disbanded
Level on Pyramid
Level 3
Last Champions 1997–98
Tennis Borussia Berlin



The championship was established in 1950 as a counterpart to the German football championship, which was open only to the winners of the tier-one Oberligas.

To qualify for the German amateur championship, a club had to play in the highest amateur league of its regional football federation. The majority of these leagues were tier-three leagues. Only in Niedersachsen, Bremen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Berlin were these leagues set at the second level. From 1963, with the introduction of the Bundesliga, all these leagues became tier-three leagues, too.

To qualify for the amateur championship, a club either had to win its highest local amateur league and then not to have to take part in any post-season promotion-round. A club could also decline to take part in the promotion round and play in the amateur championship instead. Also, league winners who were reserve teams of professional clubs were ineligible for promotion to the professional level and had to play in the amateur championship instead. Mostly, however, the clubs playing in the championship were the runners-up of their leagues.

1950 to 1955Edit

In the first five editions of the competition, the modus remained unchanged from season to season. Fifteen clubs competed in a knock-out system, whereby one club had a bye for the first round. Clubs paired against each other would only play one game to determine the winner of the tie. The competition only included teams from West Germany and West Berlin, East German clubs did not take part. Also, clubs from the Saarland did not take part either at this stage. The fifteen clubs came from the following leagues (tier):

From 1952, the knock-out system in the first round was replaced by a group stage, where in three groups of four and one group of three teams, a group winner was determined. This four winners then went on to the semi-finals.

1955 to 1964Edit

The modus was altered in 1955, when, from then on, the five regions each determined their own champion. The five regional winners then qualified for the German amateur championship. The competition still operated on a knock-out system, but now only four games, ignoring possible replays, were played:

  • A preliminary game between the West Berlin winner and one of the other four teams, altering on a yearly base.
  • Two semi-final games
  • The final

This system remained in place until the end of the 1963–64 season.

1964 to 1978Edit

From the 1964–65 season, the sixteen regional champions, now with the Saarland, were again qualified for the competition. In a knock-out system, now with home-and-away games, the winner was determined. Only the final was played as an on-off match on neutral ground. Only in 1976–77 and 1977–78 was the final also played as a home-and-away contest. Otherwise, the modus remained unchanged until 1978, when the Amateur Oberligas were formed.

1979 to 1991Edit

A league reform in 1978 reduced the number of tier-three leagues from sixteen to eight. Also, the leagues were renamed to Amateur Oberliga. The winner of each of those leagues qualified for the amateur championship, which was played as the years before, in a knock-out format with home-and-away games, including the final in the first season, 1978–79. From 1979 to 1980, the final was again played as a single game, but now as a home game for one of the two teams involved, to improve attendance figures.

The eight teams came from the following leagues:

After the 1980–81 season, the winners of the eight leagues had to compete for 2. Bundesliga promotion. The amateur championship was therefore played out by the league runners-up from then on. This system in turn remained in place until the German reunion in 1991.

1991 to 1994Edit

The effects of the German reunion changed the map of German football considerably and in regards of the German amateur championship, the number of teams qualified increased. East Germany and West-Berlin were sub-divided in three new Oberligas while the 'berliga Berlin was disbanded. The three new leagues were:

This meant, ten clubs, still the runners-up of their league, were now qualified for the competition. It was staged in two regional groups, north and south, with five teams each. Each team would play the other four in their group once and the two group winners would then stage the final. The 1991–92 competition marked a unique event, the Rot-Weiß Essen became the first and to-date only club to have taken out the German championship (1955) and the German amateur championship (1992) with its first team. Having won the German Cup in 1953, the club holds a unique triple of titles in German football.

This system only operated for three seasons, 1991–92, 1992–93 and 1993–94. It was replaced when the Regionalligas were established as the new tier-three leagues in Germany in 1994. From then on, the Oberligas were not the highest amateur leagues in the country any more.

1994 to 1998Edit

Four Regionalligas were established in 1994 and the teams competing in the German amateur championship now came from these leagues:

In each of the three next seasons, four teams qualified for the competition in a varying set-up:

  • 1994–95: runners-up of the four leagues
  • 1995–96: champion Nordost, third placed West/Südwest, second and third placed Süd
  • 1996–97: champion Nordost, second and third placed West/Südwest, third placed Süd

The variation in teams qualified from each league resulted in a different number of teams from each league being promoted to the 2. Bundesliga.

In its last season, the championship was played with only three teams, the runners-up from West/Südwest and Süd and the winner of Nordost. Each played each other once only and the group winner Tennis Borussia Berlin was named German amateur champion. Additionally, the club was promoted to the 2. Bundesliga. This last edition, played without a final for the first time, was much more a promotion round with the amateur title being only a footnote.

Disbanding and current statusEdit

A lack of interest in the competition led to its being disbanded. It suffered from being regarded as a competition for failed clubs that had missed out on more meaningful regional or national honours, or that had missed promotion to a higher level of play. Attempts to make the competition more attractive by allowing the top teams of the competition into the German Cup tournament had little effect.

In May 2006, the chairman of the DFB (German Football Association), Theo Zwanziger, voiced his interest in re-establishing a national amateur championship from 2008 onwards, after the 3. Liga was to be formed. He left open as to whether the competition should be for the winners of Regionalliga (IV) or Oberliga (V) play.[1]


The SC Jülich, the only club to win the title three times in a row, was the feature of a documentary by a German sports network, the Deutsches Sportfernsehen — DSF, about Germany's most successful amateur club. The club had fallen on hard times and almost folded in the 1990s, dropping to the lowest tier of the local league system before recovering.[2]

List of winnersEdit

In its almost fifty-year history, the competition had thirty-eight different winners.

Finals 1950 to 1997Edit

Year Champion Runner-Up Result Date Venue Attendance
1950–51 ATSV 1860 Bremen Karlsruher FV 3–2 30 June 1951 Berlin 70,000
1951–52 VfR Schwenningen Cronenberger SC 5–2 22 June 1952 Ludwigshafen 80,000
1952–53 SV Bergisch Gladbach 09 Homberger SpV 3–2 28 June 1953 Wuppertal 35,000
1953–54 TSV Marl-Hüls SpVgg Neu-Isenburg 6–1 26 June 1954 Gelsenkirchen 15,000
1954–55 Sportfreunde Siegen SpVgg Bad Homburg 5–0 25 June 1955 Wetzlar 15,000
1955–56 SpVgg Neu-Isenburg VfB Speldorf 3–2 24 June 1956 Berlin 25,000
1956–57 VfL Benrath Alemannia 90 Berlin 4–2 23 June 1957 Hannover 60,000
1957–58 FV Hombruch 09 ASV Bergedorf 85 3–1 14 June 1958 Dortmund 20,000
1958–59 FC Singen 04 Arminia Hannover 3–2 14 June 1959 Offenburg 9,000
1959–60 Hannover 96 Amateure BV Osterfeld 1–1 aet / 3–0 26 & 29 June 1960 Herford 12,000 & 9,000
1960–61 KSV Holstein Kiel Amateure SV Siegburg 04 5–1 24 June 1961 Hannover 70,000
1961–62 SC Tegel Berlin Tura Bonn 1–0 30 June 1962 Wuppertal 12,000
1962–63 VfB Stuttgart Amateure VfL Wolfsburg 1–0 6 July 1963 Kassel 10,000
1963–64 Hannover 96 Amateure SV Wiesbaden 2–0 27 June 1964 Hagen 10,000
1964–65 Hannover 96 Amateure SV Wiesbaden 2–1 27 June 1965 Siegen 8,000
1965–66 SV Werder Bremen Amateure Hannover 96 Amateure 5–1 2 July 1966 Herford 10,000
1966–67 STV Horst Emscher Hannover 96 Amateure 2–0 1 July 1967 Herford 8,500
1967–68 VfB Marathon Remscheid FC Wacker München 5–3 aet 9 June 1968 Bochum 10,000
1968–69 SC Jülich SpVgg Erkenschwick 2–1 12 July 1969 Krefeld 12,000
1969–70 SC Jülich Eintracht Braunschweig Amateure 3–0 11 July 1970 Siegen 8,000
1970–71 SC Jülich VfB Stuttgart Amateure 1–0 10 July 1971 Würzburg 6,000
1971–72 FSV Frankfurt TSV Marl-Hüls 2–1 8 July 1972 Neuwied 10,000
1972–73 SpVgg Bad Homburg 1. FC Kaiserslautern Amateure 1–0 30 June 1973 Offenbach 7,000
1973–74 SSV Reutlingen VfB Marathon Remscheid 2–2 aet / 2–1 29 June 1974 Worms 5,000 & 2,500
1974–75 VfR Oli Bürstadt Victoria Hamburg 3–0 29 June 1975 Ludwigsburg 8,000
1975–76 SV Holzwickede VfR Oli Bürstadt 1–0 27 June 1976 Oldenburg 750
1976–77 Fortuna Düsseldorf Amateure SV Sandhausen 1–0 / 2–2 22 & 26 June 1977 Düsseldorf & Sandhausen 8,000 & 10,000
1977–78 SV Sandhausen ESV Ingolstadt 2–0 / 1–1 24 & 28 June 1978 Ingolstadt & Sandhausen 2,100 & 5,000
1978–79 ESV Ingolstadt Hertha Zehlendorf 4–1 / 0–1 27 & 30 June 1979 Ingolstadt & Berlin 3,000 & 3,600
1979–80 VfB Stuttgart Amateure FC Augsburg 2–1 20 June 1980 Stuttgart 2,000
1980–81 1. FC Köln Amateure FC St. Pauli 2–0 14 June 1981 Cologne 7,500
1981–82 FSV Mainz SV Werder Bremen Amateure 3–0 17 June 1982 Mainz 8,000
1982–83 FC 08 Homburg FC Bayern München Amateure 2–0 aet 17 June 1983 Homburg 6,000
1983–84 Offenburger FV SC Eintracht Hamm 4–1 16 June 1984 Offenburg 8,000
1984–85 SV Werder Bremen Amateure DSC Wanne-Eickel 3–0 22 June 1985 Bremen 3,000
1985–86 BVL 08 Remscheid VfR Oli Bürstadt 2–1 aet 21 June 1986 Remscheid 8,000
1986–87 MSV Duisburg FC Bayern München Amateure 4–1 21 June 1987 Duisburg 10,000
1987–88 Eintracht Trier VfB Oldenburg 0–0 aet, 5–4 pen 19 June 1988 Oldenburg 7,000
1988–89 Eintracht Trier SpVgg Bad Homburg 1–1 aet, 5–4 pen 17 June 1989 Trier 5,500
1989–90 FSV Salmrohr Rheydter SpV 2–0 10 June 1990 Salmrohr 3,000
1990–91 SV Werder Bremen Amateure SpVgg 07 Ludwigsburg 2–1 9 June 1991 Ludwigsburg 4,500
1991–92 Rot-Weiss Essen SpVgg Bad Homburg 3–2 aet 13 June 1992 Essen 6,395
1992–93 SV Sandhausen SV Werder Bremen Amateure 2–0 Sandhausen 3,000
1993–94 SC Preußen Münster Kickers Offenbach 1–0 11 June 1994 Offenbach 6,000
1994–95 VfL Osnabrück Stuttgarter Kickers 4–2 aet 13 June 1995 Stuttgart 1,194
1995–96 SSV Ulm 1846 VfR Mannheim 2–1 15 June 1996 Ulm 500
1996–97 SSV Reutlingen Rot-Weiß Oberhausen 2–1 Oberhausen 1,600

Source:"(West) Germany — Amateur Championship Finals". RSSSF. Retrieved 2008-08-05.

Group winners 1998Edit

Year Champion Runner-Up
1997–98 Tennis Borussia Berlin Sportfreunde Siegen

Winners and runners-up statisticsEdit

Club Championships Runners-up
Hannover 96 Amateure 3 2
SV Werder Bremen Amateure 3 2
SC Jülich 3 0
VfB Stuttgart Amateure 2 1
SV Sandhausen 2 1
SSV Reutlingen 2 0
Eintracht Trier 2 0
SpVgg Bad Homburg 1 3
VfR Oli Bürstadt 1 2
TSV Marl-Hüls 1 1
Sportfreunde Siegen 1 1
SpVgg Neu-Isenburg 1 1
VfB Marathon Remscheid 1 1
ESV Ingolstadt 1 1
VfL Osnabrück 1 1
ATSV 1860 Bremen 1 0
VfR Schwenningen 1 0
SV Bergisch Gladbach 09 1 0
VfL 06 Benrath 1 0
FV Hombruch 09 1 0
FC Singen 04 1 0
KSV Holstein Kiel Amateure 1 0
SC Tegel Berlin 1 0
STV Horst-Emscher 1 0
FSV Frankfurt 1 0
SV Holzwickede 1 0
Fortuna Düsseldorf Amateure 1 0
1. FC Köln Amateure 1 0
FSV Mainz 05 1 0
FC 08 Homburg 1 0
Offenburger FV 1 0
BVL 08 Remscheid 1 0
MSV Duisburg 1 0
FSV Salmrohr 1 0
Rot-Weiß Essen 1 0
SC Preußen Münster 1 0
SSV Ulm 1846 1 0
Tennis Borussia Berlin 1 0

First edition 1950–51: clubsEdit

Fifteen teams took part in the competitions first edition, taking place in June 1951, qualified from the following leagues:


Note on the term amateurEdit

The term "amateur" in German football nowadays does not quite mean the same as in other countries; it does not as such indicate that a player does not get paid but rather means the player is paid below a certain level, often a so-called Aufwandsentschädigung, which literally means "reimbursement of costs". Rather, in comparison with the league system in the United Kingdom, the term amateur could be translated with non-league.

Up until the formation of the Regionalligas, reserve teams of professional clubs carried the title Amateure behind the club name to distinguish first from second team. Because these teams are not truly amateurs, these teams now, like all other reserve sides, carry the II behind the name, for example, VfB Stuttgart Amateure became VfB Stuttgart II.

Attendance figuresEdit

The high number of spectators in the 1951, 1952, 1957 and 1961 finals results from the fact that the games were held as curtain raisers for the German championship finals.


  1. ^ Zwanziger denkt über Amateur-Meisterschaft nach (in German), published: 17 May 2006, accessed: 6 August 2008
  2. ^ The history and the future of SC Jülich 10[permanent dead link] SC Jülich 1910 website, accessed: 6 August 2008


  • Deutschlands Fußball in Zahlen, (in German) An annual publication with tables and results from the Bundesliga to Verbandsliga/Landesliga, publisher: DSFS
  • Kicker Almanach, (in German) The yearbook on German football from Bundesliga to Oberliga, since 1937, published by the Kicker Sports Magazine
  • Die Deutsche Liga-Chronik 1945–2005 (in German) History of German football from 1945 to 2005 in tables, publisher: DSFS, published: 2006

External linksEdit