Borussia Dortmund Profile

Major Honours Champions League (1), Bundesliga (8), DFB-Pokal (4), UEFA Cup (2), DFB/DFL (German) Supercup (6), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1)
Year Founded 1909

Borussia Dortmund have established themselves as Germany’s second biggest club, winning 18 domestic honours and the Champions League.

The Black and Yellows are eight-time Bundesliga champions and are one of only three German clubs to have won the European Cup, having done so in 1997.

The 2020 Deloitte Football Money League places Dortmund as the 12th richest club in world soccer, mainly because of the club's profit-focused financial model, which after near-bankruptcy during the early 2000s ensures the club can maintain performance on and off the pitch. Current CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke played a key role in this reversal of fortunes in the mid-2000s.

To most modern soccer fans, the name Borussia Dortmund evokes images of Jurgen Klopp's heavy metal soccer, the superb albeit injury-stricken Marco Reus, as well as a culture of letting young talented players lead the club's charge for silverware.

Dortmund's youth-focused philosophy has seen Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland become some of the hottest prospects in world soccer, as well as allowing sales such as that of Christian Pulisic to Chelsea for £57.6million in 2019. 

The early years

The club was formed in 1909, hence the 09 on the club's badge, but it wasn't until 1913 when they donned the famous black and yellow strip. The 'Borussia' part of their name comes from the name of a local brewery, but it's also the Latin word for Prussia.

Dortmund had some modest success in local leagues before the Second World War, but the standout events in this period occurred off the pitch.

The Borussia Dortmund squad celebrate winning the Bundesliga in 1957

In 1929, after the club had signed a string of 'elite' professional players who ultimately led the club to relegation, Dortmund had a close call with bankruptcy after failing to pay back a 12,000 Reichsmark loan. Heinz Schwaben, the club's former president, repaid the money out of his own pocket.

The 1930s and early 1940s saw little change in Dortmund's on-pitch fortunes. Members of the club had been openly against the Nazi regime in Germany, but the removal of past institutions such as sports clubs by the Allies after the war led to Dortmund having to reform as Ballspiel-Verein Borussia (BVB) in 1949.

The newly formed Borussia Dortmund were a strong outfit, with the club winning three national titles, including the last German Football Championship in 1963. In 1965, they won their first DFB-Pokal and a year later they beat Liverpool to secure the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Dortmund's Golden '90s

The 1970s and 1980s were a period again marred by financial trouble and poor performances on the pitch. Dortmund spent four years in the 2. Bundesliga and failed to achieve any success until a DFB-Pokal win in 1989. This marked a small rise in fortunes and would lead to the most successful decade in Dortmund's history.

The appointment of Ottmar Hitzfeld as manager in 1991 led to a second-place finish in the 1991/92 season, their highest since 1965/66, when Die Schwarz-Gelben were runners-up to 1860 Munich. The following two years saw back-to-back fourth-place finishes as well as a UEFA Cup final defeat to Juventus in 1993.

Heading into the 1994/95 season, Dortmund had assembled a squad full of talent including the likes of Michael Zorc, Lars Ricken and Stephane Chapuisat. Led by captain Matthias Sammer, Dortmund entered a two year period of domestic domination, winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles as well the 1995 and 1996 DFL-Supercups.

The crowning moment of Hitzfeld's Dortmund team was their 1996/97 Champions League run. In a campaign plagued by injuries to key first team players such as Sammer, Julio Cesar and Karl-Heinz Riedle, Dortmund somehow managed to reach the final against Juventus.

The Borussia Dortmund squad celebrate winning the UEFA Champions League in 1997

Interestingly, much of the Dortmund side that played in Munich in 1997 had participated in the UEFA Cup final defeat to Juventus in 1993. Three of the men who had lined up for Juventus that year would now stand against them four years later; Andreas Moller, Jurgen Kohler and Julio Cesar. Meanwhile, five players who had featured for Dortmund against Juventus in '93, including club legend Zorc, would also play in Munich.

The Juventus side Dortmund went up against consisted of some of the globe's finest talents, including Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero, Didier Deschamps and Christian Vieri. Despite this, a five-minute brace from Riedle put Dortmund in control at half-time.

Del Piero managed to pull one back for Juventus but the introduction of Dortmund-born Lars Ricken would be key as the 20-year-old midfielder lobbed Angelo Peruzzi from 30 yards after just 16 seconds of being on the pitch. This secured Dortmund’s first, and so far only, Champions League title.

Dortmund would go on to beat Cruzeiro in the 1997 Intercontinental Cup to be crowned World Champions, becoming only the second German club after Bayern Munich to achieve this feat.

The Jurgen Klopp years

Jurgen Klopp, pictured as Borussia Dortmund manager in 2009

When Jurgen Klopp took charge of Borussia Dortmund, the ambitious club lay in ruins. Matthias Sammer had managed the club to another Bundesliga title in 2002, but by 2005 the club were in financial decline and they barely managing to stave off bankruptcy. Lacklustre league performances and mid-table finishes also left much to be desired.

When Klopp arrived in May 2008 he made an almost immediate impact, guiding Dortmund to victory over Bayern Munich in the 2008 German Supercup. A sixth-place finish in the 2008/09 season was built upon in 2009/10, with Dortmund finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League. Having assembled a squad of young stars such as Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa and Mario Gotze, Klopp went on to take the Bundesliga by storm over the next two years.

In the 2010/11 season, Dortmund would be declared the Herbstmeister (Autumn Champions), having won 14 games out of 16 in the first half of the season. They then went on to secure their first Bundesliga title in nearly a decade. Klopp's team were the youngest side to ever win the German title and were spearheaded by Paraguayan striker Lucas Barrios, who scored 16 goals.

The following season was even better for The Black and Yellows, with the club managing to not only defend their title, but break numerous records on the way. Their final 81 point tally was, at the time, a Bundesliga record, while their 28 game unbeaten run is a record still held to this day (albeit now shared with Bayern Munich).

Dortmund also won the DFB-Pokal, beating Bayern Munich 5-2 in the final to become one of only four German sides to complete a domestic double. Klopp's squad of players, which included Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gotze, Ilkay Gundogan and Jakub Blaszczykowski had set the league alight.

Dortmund were unable to win a third successive title, finishing second in the Bundesliga in 2012/13, but Klopp's focus had shifted to the Champions League.

Despite being drawn in the so-called Group of Death, Dortmund finished top of their Champions League group with 14 points. A convincing win against Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of 16 was followed by a dramatic quarter-final second leg against Malaga where two goals in extra time allowed Dortmund to squeeze into a semi-final encounter with group rivals Real Madrid.

Lewandowski's four-goal haul in the first leg, which finished 4-1, put Dortmund in cruise control and despite a 2-0 defeat at the Bernabeu, they found themselves in their first Champions League final since 1997. However, Bayern Munich scored either side of a Gundogan penalty to subject Dortmund to a 2-1 defeat.

This marked the peak of the Klopp era and the announcement in April 2013 that Gotze would join arch-rivals Bayern Munich that summer was a sign of things to come. The following year, Lewandowski headed in the same direction on a free transfer. His final year at Dortmund saw them finish second to Bayern yet again, a common trend in the final years of Klopp.

Klopp's last season at Dortmund was also his worst, with the club going into the winter break in a relegation spot. Dortmund did recover, finishing seventh to qualify for the Europa League, but it marked the end of an era. Klopp's final game in charge was the DFB-Pokal final defeat to VFL Wolfsburg in May 2015.

German rivalry

Dortmund's main rivalry is with FC Schalke 04, who are based in nearby Gelsenkirchen. The tie is known as the Revierderby, or alternatively the 'mother of all derbies', and is one of the fiercest rivalries in German soccer.

No game demonstrates this more than the 2007 meeting on the penultimate matchday of a season in which Schalke were within touching distance of their first league title in 50 years. In a sequence of events that haunts Schalke fans to this day, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Dortmund saw the title slip away from their grasp.

Dortmund's other main rivals are Bayern Munich, who compete against them in 'Der Klassiker'. Unlike most other German rivalries, there are no geographical links between the two teams, with Der Klassiker emerging in response to the more recent successes of both clubs. Many German fans do not consider this fixture to be a true rivalry in the way most non-German audiences do. A good comparison to English soccer would be the competitive rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester City.

Dortmund's fixtures against Borussia Monchengladbach are known as the Borussen Derby, which is often a battle over who is the better 'Borussia'. Both clubs have more heated fixtures, and as such this derby is a less disputed affair, but the potential still remains for sparks to fly, especially as both clubs hail from the Ruhr Valley. German media has coined this game the Borussengipfel or Borussia Summit.

The Yellow Wall

Unlike the Premier League, Bundesliga clubs are fan-owned, meaning 51% of each club's shareholders are the fans and the remaining 49% is available to external investors. Dortmund currently have around 145,000 members, who are all able to have a say in areas such as ticket prices. They can also vote on any potential shareholders.

Their stadium, Signal Iduna Park, has the largest standing terrace in the world, with 25,000 fans packing into the Sudtribune to create the famous 'Yellow Wall' on match days.

The stadium is renowned for having one of the best atmospheres in world soccer, with a total of just over 81,000 fans in attendance at home games. A must-see moment is a Champions League night at Signal Iduna Park, with the Dortmund fans often producing choreographed flag, sign or banners, known as tifos, based on the club's history and successes.

Major signings

Perhaps the most well-known player in Dortmund's recent history is Robert Lewandowski, who was signed from Lech Poznan for just €4.75million in June 2010. The Polish striker went on to score 74 goals in 131 games for Dortmund before joining Bayern Munich in July 2014.

The club's sporting director, Michael Zorc, was a key part in one of the greatest periods in Dortmund's history. Notching a club record 572 appearances, he won the Bundesliga twice, as well as the club's only Champions League crown in 1997. Zorc, known as 'Susi', is also Dortmund's top all-time goalscorer despite his role as a central midfielder.

Matthias Sammer is another of Dortmund's Champions League winners. Having signed for Dortmund midway through the 1992/93 season from Inter Milan, he made an instant impact, scoring 10 goals in just 17 games. Sammer would become a key part in the Dortmund defence of the 1990s in the sweeper role, winning back to back Bundesligas, and being the only Dortmund captain to ever lift the Champions League.

Karl-Heinz Riedle isn't the most well-known Dortmund player, but among fans of Die Schwarzgelben, he holds a place in club folklore. Having signed from Lazio in 1993, Riedle was unable to reach double digits in any campaigns for Dortmund, but his five-minute brace against Juventus in the 1997 Champions League final played a key role in securing victory for the Black and Yellows.

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