UPDATED FOR 2023-24 - AUGUST 2023
Founded: Dec 19, 1909
Club Members: 175,000
Nickname: Die Schwarzgelben
Coach: Edin Terzic
Captain: Emre Can
German Champions / Bundesliga: 8
German Super Cup Winner: 6
European Cup / Champions League: 1
European Cup Winners Cup: 1
Intercontinental Cup Winner: 1
Western German Cup: 2
Borussia Dortmund owe their formation to an act of rebellion against the Catholic Church and, in particular, a chaplain vehemently opposed to 'the crude and savage hustle' of football gaining popularity in Germany at the time. The target of Father Hubert Dewald's wrath was a group of young men who constantly ground his gears by playing football at the church-run 'Trinity Youth' club - insisting on Sunday kickabouts and meeting up, not at the parish hall, but at the Zum Wildschütz (The Poacher) - a pub in the centre of Dortmund run by ... a Protestant. After yet another diatribe from the pulpit and making Sunday afternoon mass mandatory for all Trinity Youth members, the footballers gathered at an impromptu meeting and took the radical yet simple decision to start their own club - BV Borussia 1909 EV Dortmund.
Life for the yet-not-so-famous Schwarzgelben began in one of the 'wild associations' of early German football where they enjoyed only modest success before a brush with bankruptcy in 1929 after Dortmund's directors had, in contravention of German FA statutes, taken out a 12,000 Reichsmark loan and used it to recruit professional players. It was a gamble they hoped would pay off with a rise through the leagues but unfortunately, things didn't quite go according to plan and the club were left with a debt it couldn't afford to repay. Board members were summoned by the courts to give an account of the club's finances and Borussia were only saved from financial ruin when former club president Heinz Schwaben settled the arrears out of his own pocket.
Another battle with adversity was fought just a few years later following the National Socialist Party's seizure of power in 1933. The make-up of Borussia Dortmund at the time was typical of other Rhineland clubs - full of players and supporters from the socialist and communist milieu - but pressure from the Nazis forced them to replace their left-leaning club president, Egon Pentrup, with a fully-paid up member of the Nazi Party called August Busse. And when their Borussia Sportplatz home was requisitioned in 1937 forcing them to move across Dortmund to the Stadion Rot Erde, many Borussen suspected that they were being punished by the regime for historically representing a left-wing community. A number of BVB's renegade members resisted the facists' co-optation however with acts of personal courage throughout the war including former groundsman Heinrich Czerkus, who used the club offices to print anti-Nazi pamphlets before he was arrested and executed by the Gestapo in the spring of 1945.
After the war, during which BVB had played in the Gauliga Westfalen, the allied forces dissolved all sports clubs as part of a post-war policy of de-Nazification in occupied Germany and following a short-lived attempt to merge the club with two local sides - Werksportgemeinschaft Hoesch and Freier Sportverein 98 - Borussia reformed and emerged from the 'Stunde null ' (zero hour) by competing in the regional Oberliga West Division. Led by the triumvirate of the 'Three Alfredos' (Alfred Preißler, Alfred Kelbassa and Alfred Niepieklo), they challenged FC Schalke 04 and 1.FC Köln for Nordhein-Westfalen supremacy and lifted their maiden German championship in 1956 with a 4-2 win over Karlsruher SC before retaining their title a year later after thumping Hamburger SV 4-1. Borussia then won a timely third national title in 1963 just as the German FA (DFB) were deciding which sixteen teams should form the new Bundesliga which would bring all the regional Oberligen into one national professional division. The title win saw them get the nod and Timo Konietzka further cemented Dortmund's place in Bundesliga history by scoring the new competition's first-ever goal after just 58 seconds of the season opener against SV Werder Bremen.
After beating Alemannia Aachen 2-0 to lift their first DFB-Pokal in 1965, Dortmund gained entry to the Cup Winners’ Cup the following season and goals from Sigfried Held and Reinhard Libuda saw them beat Liverpool 2-1 in the Hampden Park final to become the first West German club to win a major European trophy and set the standard for their compatriots to follow. It should have signalled Dortmund's arrival as a major force in German football but after a third-place finish in 1969, Der BVB were relegated from the Bundesliga in 1972. After moving into their new Westfalenstadion home in 1974, they clawed their way back into the top-flight in 1976 but spent much of the next decade marooned in mid-table mediocrity before a relegation play-off with Fortuna Köln was needed to secure their Bundesliga status in 1986. Trailing 0-2 from the first-leg, Dortmund were still behind in the return leg and relegation loomed when, with just seven seconds left on the clock, Jurgen Wegmann scored to level the tie on aggregate. If away goals had counted Dortmund would have been relegated but they took full advantage of the reprieve and hammered the men from the cathedral city 8-0 in the decider.
In the summer of 1991, Ottmar Hitzfeld was appointed as head coach and pre-season talk of a title tilt seemed premature at best and fanciful at worst after a dismal start to the campaign which saw Dortmund lose the Revierderby 5-2 to Schalke and dumped out of the DFB-Pokal by second-tier Hannover 96. To the sound of their own delayed starting gun however they recovered to mount an unlikely title challenge and going into their final game of the season at MSV Duisburg, only goal difference separated Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart. Over 30,000 fans gathered in the city centre to watch the action unfold on big screens and with results going their way Borussia Dortmund's name looked set to be etched into the sterling silver of the Meisterschale for the first time. Jubilation turned to despair for the crowd however when, with just four minutes left to play, Guido Buchwald headed the decisive winner for Stuttgart to seal the glory in what remains the tightest ever finale to a Bundesliga campaign.
Finishing runners-up that season saw Borussia enter the UEFA Cup and at the time German TV companies were paying enormous sums to cover European matches with all monies going into a central pool from which clubs were paid depending on how far they progressed. After VfB Stuttgart were knocked out in the early stages of the Champions League by Leeds United, Dortmund were the last German club standing in European competition and became sole beneficiaries of the DM 25 million prize pot - a colossal sum at the time. They dispatched AS Roma and Auxerre to reach the final - their first in Europe since 1966 - but a Juventus side featuring German internationals Jürgen Kohler and Andreas Möller proved a bridge too far as the Italians triumphed in the two-legged final 6-1 on aggregate.
Hitzfeld decided Dortmund should use some of their European windfall to shift the balance of power in the Bundesliga from Bavaria to the Ruhr. Up until that point, the best German players had been sold to the giants of Serie A but now that they could match the salaries on offer in Turin, Milan and Rome; Dortmund began reversing the exodus. Established German internationals Stefan Reuter, Kohler and Möller were signed from Juventus, while Matthias Sammer arrived from Inter Milan for a club-record €4.5 Million in 1993 before that fee was topped by the €4.6 Million capture of Karl-Heinz Riedle from S.S Lazio. The new signings brought Dortmund quickfire Bundesliga titles in 1995 and 1996 with the imperious Sammer in particular central to the success. He was awarded the Bundesliga Player of the Season in both campaigns to become only the third player to do so alongside Günter Netzer and Sepp Maier.
By the time the 1996-97 campaign kicked off, Hitzfeld had assembled a squad capable of challenging for football's biggest prizes and, only 11 years after being seconds away from relegation, they became the best team in Europe when 20 year old homegrown hero Lars Ricken chipped Angelo Peruzzi from 30 yards to seal a 3-1 victory over Juventus in the 1997 Champions League final at Munich's Olympiastadion. Seven months later, they were officially the best team in the world when they travelled to Tokyo and beat Copa Libertadores champions Cruzeiro in the Intercontinental Cup final. For Dortmund fans, it couldn't get any better.
Hitzfeld was named World Coach of the Year in 1997 but deep fissures had begun to develop between himself and members of the squad; and not long after stepping down for 'the sake of his health', Der General was lured to Bayern München where he led them to Champions League glory just four years later - ironically after inheriting another dressing room on the verge of civil war. Back in Westphalia meanwhile, Hitzfeld's legacy had been squandered as just three years after that historic night in Munich, Dortmund came within five points of being relegated to Bundesliga.2 with huge amounts spent on underperforming players. In 2000, Matthias Sammer, who'd made the transition from cultured Libero to coach after his playing days had been cut short by injury, answered the club's SOS and became the first person to win the Bundesliga as player and manager when BVB lifted the Meisterschale in 2002. The title win and a UEFA Cup final appearance (which they lost to Feyenoord) however proved to be the last hurrah for Dortmund's 'Golden Generation' and by 2004, the heartbeat of that team was also gone - Sammer sacked after failing to revive the expectation that BVB should be the next best after Bayern.
Missing out on Champions League qualification was also very nearly a tipping point as debts of €122 million had brought the club to the brink of bankruptcy. As ambitions to rival Bayern lay in ruins, newly appointed CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke put in place a financial restructuring plan to walk the club back from the cliff edge including a 20% salary cut for all staff, offloading key players like Tomáš Rosický and Christoph Metzelder; and selling the Westfalenstadion's naming rights to insurance company Signal Iduna. Perhaps most telling of the precarious state Dortmund's finances were in at the time was the €2 million interest-free loan accepted from Bayern München just to cover the payroll. Without such cross-party generosity Dortmund's story would have ended in 2005.
Back on the field, beyond their Bundesliga triumph of 2002, Dortmund had become locked in a sad and sedate decline that a swift succession of managers could do nothing to halt. Bert van Marwijk, Jürgen Röber and Thomas Doll each came and went as a seventh-place league finish in 2005-06 became a ninth a season later before regressing to 13th the season after that. Following their latest backwards step, BVB's hierarchy turned their attention to an Arrigo Sacchi disciple who was developing a burgeoning reputation at 1.FC Mainz.
Jürgen Klopp's appointment in 2008 brought an immediate upturn in Dortmund's on-field fortunes as he brought with him the aggressive, fast-paced 'Heavy Metal Football' which had transformed Mainz from a provincial club battling relegation to the third tier into one worthy of an 11th-place Bundesliga finish in just four years. Working with the club's renowned scouting set-up he also overhauled the playing squad with a very particular calibre of player suited to his idiosyncratic brand of football and with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels and Mario Götze forming the foundation of his team, Klopp stunned a nation by leading Dortmund from an unspectacular mid-table performer to Bundesliga champions within 3 seasons - an achievement that altered the trajectories of both club and coach for ever.
The following season, Dortmund successfully defended their Bundesliga crown and headed to Berlin's iconic Olympiastadion for a DFB-Pokal final showdown against Bavarian foes Bayern München. They put on an Olympic standard showing to seal the first and only domestic double in their history with Lewandowski scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 win to leave Germany's capital in a triumphant visage of yellow and black. In 2013, as Dortmund expanded their ambitions beyond Germany's borders, Klopp oversaw an enthralling campaign in Europe which cemented BVB’s status in the hearts and minds of neutrals everywhere as their team of choice and led Dortmund into an all-German Champions League final, just 90 minutes away from a second European Cup. The season ended in heartbreak however and Klopp could only watch from the Wembley touchline as Arjen Robben scored an 89th minute winner for an immense and subsequently treble-winning Bayern München team.
That goal signalled the beginning of the end for Dortmund's rising side. Key players like Lewandowski, Hummels and, later, Götze all left to become part of Bayern's own emphatic revival and before long, their charismatic leader had gone as well - calling time on his Schwarzgelben empire after a snake-bitten 2014-15 season that saw Dortmund briefly flirt with relegation.
Today, Klopp's name still looms large over the Westfalenstadion and for his successors, returning Dortmund to the fore is a task made even harder by the economic realities that force BVB, although muscular by Bundesliga standards, to sell their best players in order to balance the books; and although their emphasis on youth development has made them the go-to club for some of football's brightest young talents (most recently Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Gio Reyna), after making their name at Dortmund they're likely to move on to have lucrative careers elsewhere in Europe ... and (much to the dismay of Dortmund fans ) Munich. Creating teams in the midst of this constant churn and the omnipresent nostalgia surrounding Klopp's glorious reign, has made managing Borussia Dortmund a seemingly impossible job - something the likes of Thomas Tuchel, Peter Bosz and Lucian Favre have all found to their cost, with none of them able to achieve Klopp's success or his emotional connection with the fans.
For now then, Bayern München remain where Der BVB aim to be - but as their history demonstrates, if there's one club that can bounce back from adversity, learn from the setbacks and overcome them - it's Borussia Dortmund.
Video used with the kind permission of Stadiums From The Sky
- Drone Footage of Stadiums All Over The World
Ground Name: Signal Iduna Park
Architect: Planungsgruppe Drahtler
Built: 1971 - 1974
Year Opened: 1974
Renovations: 1995, 2002 - 2006, 2012
Capacity: 81,365 (28,337 standing)
Record Attendance: 83,000 (2004)
Executive Boxes: 11
Executive Box Seats: 163
Wheelchair Spaces: 72
Construction Costs: €32.7m
UEFA Stadium Category: Elite
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Weiße Wiese (1909 - 1924)
Borussia Sportplatz (1924 - 1937)
Stadion Rote Erde (1937 - 1974)
Westfalenstadion (1974 - 2005)
Signal Iduna Park (2005 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Signal Iduna Park is the largest ground in Germany with a capacity of 81,365; and it regularly tops out 'Best Stadium' polls by football fans around the world.
It's a striking box of a stadium and the famous yellow colour of Dortmund contrasts with the cold brutalist 1970's architecture. Built for the 1974 World Cup and originally named Westfalenstadion, it replaced Dortmund's former home - the aging Stadion Rote Erde which had quickly become too small for the club's growing support in the 1960s. Fortunately, unlike many old grounds, Stadion Rote Erde wasn't demolished and still stands on its original site next to the giant East Stand of Signal Iduna Park. Seeing the two stadia side by side shows the clear difference between the Borussia Dortmund of the post war years and the football behemoth it is today.
With an original capacity of 54,000, the Westfalenstadion was inaugurated on 2nd April 1974 with a 'friendly' match between Dortmund and their great Ruhr Valley rivals FC Schalke 04. Several years later the north stand was converted into an all-seater reducing the ground capacity to just 42,800. It wasn't until the mid-1990s after a period of increasing on-field success that a programme of expansion took place with extra tiers gradually being added to all four stands to take the capacity back up to 68,800 - a task made no easier by the discovery of an undetonated World War 2 bomb only a metre below the halfway line. Capacity was further increased when work began in 2002 to close the previously open four corners of the stadium ahead of the World Cup in 2006.
At the end of 2005, insurance company Signal Iduna secured naming rights to the stadium and the Westfalenstadion was renamed Signal Iduna Park. For the World Cup the following year, the stadium was converted to all-seater, which temporarily brought the capacity back down from 82,000 to 67,000. During the tournament the stadium hosted four group matches, one round-of-16 match and the semi-final between Germany and Italy which the hosts lost 0-2.
After further expansion during the 2010-11 season, the current stadium capacity stands at 81,365 thanks in part to the huge Südtribune. This stand is Europe's largest football terrace and on matchdays it is packed with almost 25,000 Borussia Dortmund fans - giving rise to it's famous nickname "Die Gelbe Wand" (The Yellow Wall). Another area of terracing can be found in the lower tier of the opposite north stand for away supporters. The rest of the stadium is given over to seating, and unlike many of Dortmund's European football peers, it isn't built for corporate entertainment with only 11 corporate boxes available - compared, for example, to the 106 on offer at Bayern München's Allianz Arena !
2022-23: 81,228 (Bundesliga)
2021-22: 41,800 (Bundesliga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 57,297 (Bundesliga) *
2018-2019: 80,841 (Bundesliga)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
Given the club's enormous popularity both in Germany and around the world, Borussia Dortmund have the highest average attendances in Europe which makes getting hold of tickets much easier said than done. For years now, home games have often sold-out and unfortunately it goes without saying that demand will continue to exceed supply for the foreseeable future.
If you're determined enough to see "Die Schwarzgelben" in action, start by checking availability in the club's online ticket shop, by visiting the BVB FanWelt outside the stadium or by phoning the ticket hotline on +49 (0) 1805309000. Unless it's a pre-season friendly or a match in the early stages of the DFB-Pokal however, don’t be surprised to find that tickets aren't available on general sale. Even as a club member you have to apply for tickets, so before you think of signing up and parting with your cash to get into a game, be warned that this tactic isn't a guarantee of success at a club like Borussia Dortmund.
Simply deciding to become a season ticket holder isn't the quick fix that you might hope it to be either. A total of 55,000 season tickets (nearly 75% of total ground capacity!) were allocated for 2019-20, and to even get the opportunity to buy one, you'll first have to join a waiting list where, according to the most recent figures, there will be at least 50,000 people ahead of you in the queue.
IF there are any tickets left for sale, then the ticket offices open up at the ground 4.5 hours before kick-off. Adult prices range from €36-61 for seats and it's a flat-rate €18.50 to stand on the Südtribüne - although it's unlikely that you'll have any other choice than to accept whatever ticket is offered to you.
Information about visiting Signal Iduna Park for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
If you're coming by car from the North, East or West, follow the B1 towards Dortmund. From the South, follow the A40 motorway, take the B54 Ruhrallee and follow directions to Stadion. There are around 10,000 paid car park spaces around Signal Iduna Park and Messezentrum Westfalenhallen. Another option however is to use the car park at Dortmund University (€2) on Otto Hahn Straße (A45 exit Eichlinghofen, then B1 exit Oespel/Kley) from where a free shuttle bus service operates to and from the stadium.
Match tickets (if you're lucky enough to get one! - see Buying Tickets ) can be used to travel to and from Signal Iduna Park anywhere within the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) region on a matchday until 3am the following day. From Dortmund's Hauptbahnhof, you can either take U45 or U46 to Westfalenhallen; or the U42 line (Direction: Hombruch) to Theodore-Fliedner-Heim from where it's a 5 minute walk to the ground. Alternatively, S-Bahn trains from the Hauptbahnhof stop at the conveniently named Signal Iduna Park station. Bus 450 also stops at Westfalenhallen.
If you do fancy the exercise or need to walk off the pre-match beer and bratwurst, the stadium is two miles south west of the city centre which depending on your walking speed should take 30-40 minutes. The main road to pick up and follow is Hansastraße, which becomes Hohe Straße, for about a mile. You'll see the U-Bahn station Polizeipräsidium at which point the road leads into a traffic only tunnel. If you walk parallel to the road here and straight through the small park, you'll see two huge concert halls - the Westfalenhallen. Pass between them and you'll end up on Strobelalle. Turn right here and Signal Iduna Park is down the road to your left, just past the Stadion Rote Erde.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
There is a club shop called FanWelt at the stadium for all your yellow and black souvenirs (10am-6pm, Mon-Sat, open matchdays until one hour after the end of the match).
There's also a Fan Shop right next to the German Football Museum in the centre of Dortmund:
Königswall (Königswall 22, 44137 Dortmund; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
The club also have a number of other branches in the area:
CentrO Oberhausen (CentrO Oberhausen, Centro Allee 206, 46047 Oberhausen; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
Limbecker Platz (Limbecker Platz 1a, 45127 Essen; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat )
Krone (Markt 10-14, 44137 Dortmund; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat )
Thier Galerie (Westenhellweg 102-106, 44137 Dortmund; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat )
The Borusseum in the north east corner of the stadium, was set up by fans in 2008. It traces BVB's history - particularly its roots in the industrial heritage of this formerly strong mining area. General information about opening hours and ticket prices can be found here.
Stadium tours are conducted in German and English on non-match days and general information about booking one and prices can be found here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
The BVB club pub Strobels is right next to the Borusseum at the north-east corner of the ground. It's rammed on a matchday, so it might take you a while to get served but it's a good place for cheap (-ish) beer and a free chat with Dortmund's support. Other than that, there aren't many options outside the ground except for the usual concession stands offering the typical German football fayre of beer, bratwurst, currywurst etc. So, many fans hop off the U42 and S4 at the Möllerbrücke station and head instead to the bars and restaurants of the Kreuzviertel district, a 15-minute walk away from Signal Iduna Park along Lindemanstraße or Ardeystraße. One of the popular bars in this area is Mit Schmackes, a football-themed restaurant and fan pub co-owned by former Dortmund player Kevin Großkreutz.
Borussia Dortmund proudly lay claim to having the cheapest 'Beer & Bratwurst' pairing in the Bundesliga and payment for them inside the ground is made using debit/credit cards (EC Cards only according to the website) or the club’s stadium-card scheme. The Borussia version is called 'Stadiondeckel ' and can be obtained at many points in the stadium (look for representatives by their 'white rucksack flags') and in all BVB fan shops. Dortmund have addressed a major criticism associated with stadium cards and made it easy for fans to reclaim unspent credit. You can of course keep your card for the next match, but otherwise credit can be reclaimed from the 60th minute of the match at one of the pay-out stations which you'll find at both the North (Nord) and South-east (Süd-Ost) gates. More information about using the Stadiondeckel and how to top it up can be read here. Away fans are spared the whole stadium-card hassle and can pay for their half-time bratwurst and pint of Brinkhoffs using cash.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Köln, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfL Bochum
BUNDESLIGA 2: FC Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf, SC Paderborn 07, VfL Osnabrück
3.LIGA: Borussia Dortmund II, DSC Arminia Bielefeld, FC Viktoria Köln, MSV Duisburg, Preußen Münster, Rot Weiss Essen, SC Verl