Why do Borussia Dortmund refer to themselves as BVB? - © 2018 Getty Images
Why do Borussia Dortmund refer to themselves as BVB? - © 2018 Getty Images

BVB meaning: Borussia Dortmund's nickname explained


Borussia Dortmund are known the world over for their scintillating attacking football and as being the home of some of the most passionate fans in global sport. But why do supporters constantly refer to the club as 'BVB'? bundesliga.com explains…

The term 'BVB' – pronounced in German 'bay-fow-bay' – stems from the club’s official name of Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund. Broken down into its constituent parts the name means: Ball game club – Borussia – 1909 – registered association – Dortmund.

'Dortmund' here, of course, refers to the city where the club is situated. 'e.V.' refers to the club’s legal status. '09' means the club was founded in 1909.

Those, however, have little to do with the side’s frequent identifier as 'BVB'. This acronym is built out of first two words in the name that actually consist of four distinct German words. 'Ballspielverein' is a compound word of the likes frequently found in German clubs to describe what sort of sports they compete in (or originally competed in).

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For example, VfB in Stuttgart and VfL in Wolfsburg stand for Verein für Bewegungsspiele (club for physical games) and Verein für Leibesübungen (club for physical exercise) respectively. TSG Hoffenheim is short for Turn- und Sportgemeinschaft Hoffenheim (gymastics and sports club Hoffenheim). 'FC' in clubs such as Bayern Munich and Schalke stands for Fußballclub (football club).

In the case of Dortmund, their 'Ballspielverein' implies that they specialised in ball sports – more specifically, football. Eagle-eyed readers may by now have spotted the origin of 'BV' in 'BVB'. The nickname is of course completed by 'Borussia', which while stemming from the Latin name for the former German region of Prussia, was in fact taken by the founders from a local brewery in Dortmund.

One question remains though… If BVB comes from 'Ballspielverein Borussia', why do fans not refer to BSVB? Unfortunately, the answer is more linguistic than the fact that the club’s chant of 'Heja BVB' is catchier than it would be as 'Heja BSVB'. Although 'Ballspielverein' can be dissected into its three core elements of 'Ball', 'Spiel' and 'Verein', the term is in fact a combination of just two pre-existing words: 'Ballspiel' and 'Verein', hence 'BV' and not 'BSV' as could be assumed from the deconstruction of the word.

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