The parties were keen to stress that no fresh strikes are in view and that separate negotiations will go forward between the rail operator and each of the rival unions.
EVG leader Alexander Kirchner and GDL boss Claus Weselsky were unable to agree about the shape of a collective bargaining agreement over pay and working hours, DB and EVG said on Tuesday evening.
"We had a chance to prevent a split in the workforce, but it failed thanks to resistance from GDL," Kirchner said.
Kirchner said that EVG had stuck firm to its position that there should not be two separate agreements between workers and managers at the business over pay and conditions.
EVG would fight "with all its strength" for a singular wage agreement, he added.
Weselsky could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.
GDL has been pressing to represent more train staff than just engine drivers, hoping to lay claim to all on-board staff.
The battle has seen train drivers walk out six times since September, costing DB tens of millions and paralyzing rail traffic across the country.
Separate talks will now take place on Friday in Frankfurt, first between DB and EVG and later between DB and GDL.
DB said that it would have responses to both unions' demands.