Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e. V. Dortmund, more popularly known as Borussia Dortmund, is a German professional sports club located in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia. It is best known for its men’s professional football team, which plays in the 1.Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system.
Founded in 1909, Borussia Dortmund has so far won 8 national league championships, 5 DFB-Pokal titles, 6 DFL-Supercups, 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 UEFA Champions League and 1 Intercontinental Cup. The football team is part of a huge membership-based sports club with over 145,000 members, the 2nd largest sports club in Germany.
The traditional colours of Borussia Dortmund are black and yellow, giving the club its nickname ‘die Schwarzgelben’. The club has a long-standing rivalry with its Ruhr district neighbours FC Schalke 04, with whom they contest the ‘Revierderby’. It also fights in the Der Klassiker with FC Bayern Munich.
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The History of Borussia Dortmund
BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund was founded on 19 December 1909, by a group of young men who were not happy with the Catholic church-sponsored Trinity Youth, where they played football under the strict and unfeeling eye of the local parish priest. The word ‘Borussia’ is the Latin name for Prussia, the former German kingdo. But the name was actually taken from Borussia beer, which had its brewery in the city of Dortmund. The club began with blue and white striped-shirts before changing to the iconic black and yellow stripes in 1913.
The Early Years
Dortmund enjoyed little success in the early decades and even found itself on the brink of bankruptcy in 1929 after signing some professional players had left the club in heavy debt, which was eventually paid off by a wealthy supporter from his own purse.
With the coming of the Third Reich in the early 1930’s, the club underwent profound changes and saw its president getting replaced after refusing to join the Nazi party. It became part of the Gauliga Westfalen, where it did find more success and also started a fierce rivalry with Schalke 04 from the suburbs of Gelsenkirchen, just 15 miles off to the west.
After the end of World War II, Dortmund reached its first final in the national league championship in 1949, at the time known as the Oberligen, where it lost 2-3 to VfR Mannheim. Seven years later in 1956, Borussia Dortmund claimed its maiden league-title by defeating Karlsruher SC 4-2 in the final.
The following year, it successfully defended its crown with a 4-1 victory over Hamburger SV. In 1963, the club secured the national championships for the 3rd time with a 3-1 win over 1.FC Köln, which became the final season before the establishment of the Bundesliga.
The Bundesliga Journey
When the German Football Association, the DFB, announced the formation of a new national league championship called the Bundesliga for the 1963/64 season, Borussia Dortmund gained an automatic qualification to the top-tier as one of the 5 reigning champions of the now defunct Oberligas. Dortmund striker Friedhelm Konietzka scored the first goal in Bundesliga history in the opening minute of the match, although it team ended up on the losing side of 2-3 defeat to SV Werder Bremen.
In the 1964/65 campaign, Borussia Dortmund clinched its first DFB-Pokal by defeating Alemannia Aachen 2-0 in the final match. The following season, Dortmund lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup with a 2-1 win over English side Liverpool FC at Hampden Park, Glasgow. However, that same season, Dortmund also let slip a commanding lead at the top of Bundesliga by losing 4 of its last 5 fixtures of the campaign which marked the start of a long period of turmoil at the club.
By the start of the next decade, Dortmund found itself in financial trouble and was relegated from the Bundesliga in 1972. Two years later, the club moved onto the new Westfalenstadion, the largest stadium in Germany which has since posted the record for the highest average attendance for any association football club in the world.
During the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany, Borussia Dortmund was the only member of the newly formed 2.Bundesliga to host a World Cup game at a completely new stadium.
Dortmund earned promotion back to the top-tier in 1976 but the club remained strung by financial troubles until the 1980’s. It barely avoided relegation during the 1985/86 season, winning a decisive 3rd playoff tie with Fortuna Köln.
But in 1988/89, Dortmund went on to lift the DFB-Pokal with a 4-1 win over Werder Bremen in final. Later in the year, Dortmund followed it by beating Bayern München 4-3 to win the DFL-Supercup for the first time in the club’s history.
The Golden Period
At the start of the 1991/92 campaign, Ottmar Hitzfeld was appointed the manager and he led Borussia Dortmund to a 2nd place finish, losing the title to VfB Stuttgart on the final day. The following season, it reached the final of the UEFA Cup, finishing runners-up to Italian giants Juventus after a 6-1 aggregate-defeat. But despite the loss, the club earned substantial revenue owing to the prize-money system that was in place for German clubs participating in the competition.
This allowed the club to sign top players that brought a trophy-laden period for the club in the 1990’s. Under its captain Matthias Sammer, who also went on to win the Ballon d’Or in 1996, Borussia Dortmund went on to win the 1.Bundesliga title in the 1994/95 season and went to defeat Borussia VfL Mönchengladbach 1-0 to lift the DFL-Supercup. The club repeated this double by winning the 1.Bundesliga in 1995/96 before beating 1.FC Kaiserslautern on penalties to clinch its 3rd DFL-Supercup.
At the end of the 1996/97 season, Borussia Dortmund reached the European Cup final for the first time, the tournament that was rebranded as the UEFA Champions League at the start of the decade. In an unforgettable game played at Olympiastadion in München, Dortmund faced reigning champions Juventus in the final.
Karl Heinze Riedle opened the scoring for the German side around the half-hour mark and he doubled the lead 5 minutes later but Alessandro del Piero got a goal back for the Italians in the 2nd half. Yet soon after Dortmund-born 20 year old, Lars Ricken lobbed over the goalkeeper from 20 yards out with his very first touch of the ball having come on to the field as a substitute just moments earlier.
On to the 21st Century
In October 2000, Borussia Dortmund announced that the club would become a publicly traded company in the German stock market. Therefore, it became the first sports club in the country to do so and still remains the only one. Currently 5.53% ownership lies with the club itself, 9.33% by industrialist Bernd Geske and 59.93% with widely spread shareholders.
Borussia Dortmund won the 2001/02 1.Bundesliga for the 3rd time in its history with Matthias Sammer taking over as the manager after his playing-career was cut short by injury a few years earlier. He thus became the youngest manager to lift the 1.Bundesliga and also the first one to win it both as a player and a manager. The team also reached the UEFA Cup final that season, losing to Dutch club Feyenoord Rotterdam in the end.
However, Dortmund’s fortunes dwindled in the following years as poor handling of finances led to heavy debts and sale of the Westfalenstadion grounds. In 2003, the club accepted a 2 million Euros loan from Bayern München to handle its payroll and failure to qualify for the knockout round of the UEFA Champions League made a massive dent. Two years later, share prices dropped by 80% to leave it on the verge of bankruptcy.
A New Era
In 2005 with the club in a severe financial crisis, Borussia Dortmund brought in businessman and club-member Hans-Joachim Watzke as the new CEO and he is still serving in the role to this day.
Watzke restructured and streamlined the club, making strong cost reductions with a clear operational plan. He also announced a 20% cut on the salaries of all players while giving away the naming rights for the Westfalenstadion to a local insurance company called Signal Iduna.
While Watzke was credited with saving the club from ruin, matters on the pitch were not all too bright as Dortmund continued to lose its best players. In the 2006/07 season, it had gone through three coaches before finishing just 1 point above the drop-zone. The following season Dortmund ended in the bottom-half once again in spite of reaching the DFB-Pokal final where it lost 2-1 to Bayern München after extra-time.
Return to Glory
For the 2008/09 season, Borussia Dortmund announced Jürgen Klopp as the new manager of the club. The club made immediate progress and finished in 6th position at the end of the campaign. The next season it improved to secure a 5th place finish while narrowly missing out on a return to the UEFA Champions League after failing to win its final two fixtures against lower-ranked opponents in VfL Wolfsburg and SC Freiburg.
For the 2010/11 campaign Dortmund fielded a dynamic, young squad comprising of up and coming German players such as Mats Hummels, İlkay Gündoğan, Kevin Großkreutz and Mario Götze, the latter being a product of the Dortmund youth-academy. And it was well mixed with some fantastic talents scouted by the club from across the globe led by the likes of Lucas Barrios, Shinji Kagawa, Ivan Perišić and Robert Lewandowski.
By December, the team claimed the ‘Herbstmeister’, the unofficial accolade handed to the 1.Bundesliga leaders at the winter-break, in record-equalling time. At the end of April with two games left to play in the season, Borussia Dortmund were crowned league-champions for the 7th time in its history, bringing the club level with arch-rivals Schalke 04.
Dortmund retained the 1.Bundesliga title for the 2011/12 season with a record-haul of 81 points, which was later surpassed by Bayern München in the following campaign. The club’s 8th league-win allowed it to place two stars on its crest to symbolise its 5 Bundesliga titles. Klopp’s side then followed it up by winning the DFB-Pokal at the end of the campaign to clinch the first league and cup double in their history.
The next season, Borussia Dortmund finished in 2nd place to lose the Bundesliga crown to Bayern München. The two clubs would then go on to meet each other in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League final at Wembley, the first time for an all-German championship match on the European stage. Dortmund lost the game to a late goal although it did get to exact some amount of revenge over Bayern the following year.
The Recent Decade
The 2013/14 season began with Borussia Dortmund beating Bayer München 4-2 to win the DFL-Supercup. But despite the positive start, injuries to key players and a depleted squad meant the club had to settle for a 4th place finish. The following year Dortmund defeated Bayern once again in the DFL-Supercup but the league-season was marred by inconsistency which left it flirting with relegation by February. The club did produce a strong end to the season, however and managed to finish in 7th position.
In the Shadow of Giants
After 7 glorious years at the helm, Jüergen Klopp had vacated his position for the start of the 2015/16 season with Thomas Tuchel being named as his replacement. Dortmund made a superb start under the new manager but eventually finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga. Dortmund also went out 5-4 on aggregate to a Liverpool side led by its former boss Jüergen Klopp in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League. Meanwhile the club had earlier lost the DFB-Pokal final to Bayern München for the 3rd straight year.
The following season on 11th April 2017, three explosions occurred near the Borussia Dortmund team-bus while it was on its way to play a UEFA Champions League quarter-final home-game against AS Monaco in which defender Marc Bartra and a policeman were injured. The game was postponed for the next day and Dortmund lost 2-3 before getting knocked out 3-6 on aggregate. Dortmund did eventually managed to secure the DFB-Pokal at the end of the campaign after three consecutive losses in the final.
However, Thomas Tuchel resigned from his post with Peter Bosz coming in as the new manager of Borussia Dortmund. The team got off to a record-breaking start, picking up 7 consecutive wins which was then followed by a 20-game winless-run that ultimately led to the dismissal of the Dutchman. Former Köln manager Peter Stöger was appointed on an interim-role until the end of the season and Dortmund was able to earn a 4th place finish under the Austrian.
For the 2018/19 season, Lucien Favre was revealed as the new manager with Borussia Dortmund completing a host of new signings with the ambition to win the 1.Bundesliga. The team indeed made a strong challenge for the title, eventually losing by 2 points on the final day. The following season, Dortmund lifted the DFL-Supercup but performances in the league became inconsistent which meant the club could only finish in 2nd position once the season restarted following the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Present & the Near Future
Borussia Dortmund started the 2020/21 season by losing the DFL-Supercup before producing a string of inconsistent results domestically and in Europe that finally led to the sacking of Lucien Favre in December with Edin Terzić coming in as the replacement on an interim-basis. He guided the club to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and a 3rd place in the Bundesliga before clinching the DFB-Pokal against RB Leipzig.
At the start of the 2021/22 season Marco Rose was appointed as the new manager after an impressive stint with Westphalia rivals Borussia M’Gladbach while Terzić moved up to the role of technical director. Dortmund made a solid start to the campaign to keep pace at the top of the standings but fell away as the injuries mounted towards the latter-half of the season and had to take a runners-up spot behind Bayern München yet again.
But the upcoming season brings fresh hopes for Dortmund. The team is filled with players at the peak of their careers like Manuel Akanji, Mahmoud Dahoud and Julian Brandt along with veterans like Marco Reus, Axel Witsel and Thomas Meunier. The squad also boasts some of the brightest young talents such as Jude Bellingham, Giovanni Reyna and Youssoufa Moukoko which certainly paints a bright picture on the future.
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