The 36 professional sides that played in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga in the previous season take part in the competition every year. The same goes for the sides that finished first, second, third and fourth in the third division. In addition, 40 amateur sides take part in the first round of the DFB-Pokal every year. All the relevant games have now been played, so the list of 64 teams playing in the cup next season has been confirmed.
In theory, an 8th division side could qualify for the first round via the respective 21 State Cups. The lower-league sides need to be successful in their various district cups to qualify for their State Cups, where then they have the chance to make the DFB-Pokal. Alongside the 21 cup winners, three other teams will also complete the field.
The three state associations with the most members are allowed granted an extra spot for the first round. Two cup competitions were held in Lower Saxony in the 2018/19 season, one for teams in the 3. Liga and the Regionalliga, and one for all other amateur teams. Both cup winners then directly qualify for the first round of next season’s DFB-Pokal. The winner of the Westphalian Cup qualifies directly, while since 2015/16 the winner of a play-off between the Oberliga Westphalia champions and the best Westphalian team in the Regionalliga West takes place to determine a second entrant. Fourth-division SC Verl defeated promoted TuS Haltern 3-1 to book their place next season.
As well as the State Cup winner, the best-placed amateur side in Bavaria (i.e. a team from the Regionalliga Bayern) also qualifies for the DFB-Pokal. VfB Eichstätt have qualified for next’s year tournament as a result.
Fourth-division side Waldhof Mannheim reached the final of the Baden Cup, and although they lost to third-tier side Karlsruher SC, they have also qualified, due to KSC already reaching the first round due to their league performance. The same situation applies for Germania Halberstadt (Regionalliga Nordost), who will face to Hallescher FC and KSV Baunatal (fifth-division) who will take on SV Wehen Wiesbaden.
A number of other teams qualified for the forthcoming DFB-Pokal season on the day of the amateurs. After the first round of kick-offs (10:30 CEST), fourth-tier side Viktoria Berlin had beaten TeBe Berlin 1-0, fifth-division outfit FC Oberneuland got the better of Bremer SV (1-0) and TuS Dassendorf from the Oberliga defeted Eintracht Dassendorf 2-1. Hansa Rostock (3. Liga) also beat Torgelower FC Greif 4-1.
Sixth-division side FSV Salmrohr caused a huge upset in the Rhineland Cup, coming back from 2-0 down against fifth-tier TuS Koblenz to eventually win on penalties and book their place in the first round proper in August.