Current Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was behind some of Borussia Dortmund’s most memorable Bundesliga seasons. - © 2013 Getty Images
Current Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was behind some of Borussia Dortmund’s most memorable Bundesliga seasons. - © 2013 Getty Images
60 years of Bundesliga

Bundesliga club-by-club historical guide: Borussia Dortmund


A total of 57 clubs have had the honour of competing in the Bundesliga over its 60-year history – Borussia Dortmund have easily been one of the most successful. is taking you through all the teams to have graced Germany’s first division over the last 60 years – based on the number of seasons they've played up to and including 2023/24.

Borussia Dortmund
Years in Bundesliga:
 57 (1963-72, 1976-present)
Most appearances: Michael Zorc (463)
Most goals:
Manfred Bürgsmüller (135)
Youngest player:
Youssoufa Moukoko (16 years, one day)

Dortmund was the city where the Bundesliga was created at the 1962 DFB (German FA) convention, while the club were the last champions of the pre-Bundesliga era and founding members of the new league. It was almost befitting that they then scored the first goal in Bundesliga history, Friedhelm ‘Timo’ Konietzka striking after only 58 seconds in what ended up a 3-2 defeat away at Werder Bremen.

Jude Bellingham - the Bundesliga's Player of the Season for 2022/23 - is one of the many star players who played for Borussia Dortmund in the German top flight. - Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty

BVB – so nicknamed as an abbreviation of the club’s full official name, Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund – were top-four regulars for the first four years and the first German club to win a continental title with the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1966. However, a steady decline soon followed and their top-flight stay was ended in 1972. It came at an unfortunate time for the club, with construction on their new 54,000-capacity Westfalenstadion home under way for the 1974 FIFA World Cup. To make matters worse for fans, the first Bundesliga game held there was in fact between their local rivals Bochum and Schalke in April 1974, due to works at the former's home.

Dortmund returned to the first division in 1976 and would rank anywhere from 16th in 1985/86 – surviving only via the play-off – up to second in 1991/92. They had come so agonisingly close to the title in their first season under Ottmar Hitzfeld, missing out to VfB Stuttgart only on goal difference. Built around local boy and club record appearance holder Michael Zorc, the likes of Stefan Reuter, Matthias Sammer, Karl-Heinz Riedle and Andreas Möller were all signed in a statement of intent that culminated in back-to-back titles in 1994/95 and 1995/96. And although they finished only third the following season, it went down in history as Dortmund won the UEFA Champions League in Munich against Juventus, thanks to a worldie off the bench from Lars Ricken.

A sixth league title followed in 2001/02, this time with Sammer as coach and Zorc pulling the strings in a management role, before the latter took over as sporting director in 2005 up until 2022. However, things went south after losing the 2002 UEFA Cup final and the team slipped into mid-table and very nearly insolvency. The financial ship soon steadied, the glory days would return to Dortmund following the 2008 appointment of Jürgen Klopp. He galvanised and rejuvenated the entire club over his record seven-year tenure, leading them to the title in 2010/11 with a team featuring fresh-faced future stars like Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze, Shinji Kagawa, Mats Hummels and Jakub Blaszczykowski . They were all signed for next to – or indeed – nothing. Klopp's exciting young side repeated the feat the following year with a then Bundesliga record haul of 81 points, also beating Bayern Munich 5-2 in the DFB Cup final to win their first-ever double. Five Bundesliga crowns makes them the joint-second most successful team after Bayern.

Before moving on to Bayern Munich and then Barcelona, Robert Lewandowski scored 103 goals and won four trophies with Borussia Dortmund. - imago images

Their style of play turned them into a fan magnet, becoming the first club in European football ever to average an attendance of over 80,000 during a season. Their fabled Yellow Wall - the southern stand - is the world’s largest standing terrace at a capacity of about 24,000. That model of signing young players and allowing them game time to develop has also proven a success numerous times. Previous unknowns like Lewandowski and Kagawa have been followed by Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic, Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, Gio Reyna and now Jude Bellingham. Many were signed for nominal fees and those who have left have done wonders for the BVB coffers.

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