The Signal Iduna Park is a monster of a stadium. Borussia Dortmund’s 81,365-capacity home is one of the world’s most iconic grounds, boasting the highest average attendance in Europe and providing an atmosphere envied across sports.
bundesliga.com takes you inside one of Germany’s most fabled football grounds…
Prior to the construction of the Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund’s home was the Stadion Rote Erde. The stadium had an eventual capacity of 42,000 spectators in the 1960s, but this was deemed insufficient as BVB became the first German team to lift a European trophy (the 1966 Cup Winners’ Cup) and interest spiked. Plans had been made prior to that for a new stadium but neither the city of Dortmund nor the German government were willing to help finance the project.
Borussia’s big break, however, came in 1971 when Cologne pulled out of hosting the 1974 FIFA World Cup and the funds were instead given to Dortmund. A 54,000-capacity stadium – the Westfalenstadion – was constructed within three years next to the Rote Erde. It hosted four matches during the tournament but remarkably it would be two years before Bundesliga football was seen at Dortmund’s new home, and Borussia were not even involved…
Watch: A closer look at the Signal Iduna Park
The match in April 1976 in fact saw Bochum host Schalke while their ground was under construction, meaning a Royal Blue player – Erwin Kremers – holds the honour of scoring the first Bundesliga goal at the Westfalenstadion. Dortmund had been relegated from the Bundesliga while their new home was being built in 1972 and would not return to the top flight until 1976/77.
The stadium was expanded during the 1990s with the addition of another tier, taking the total capacity up to 68,600 and creating a 24,454-capacity standing terrace in the south stand. The largest of its kind in Europe, this imposing sight of almost 25,000 fans all wearing Dortmund colours has given rise to the famed Gelbe Wand – the Yellow Wall.
In 2001 the ground hosted the final of the UEFA Cup between Liverpool and Alaves, after which the stadium underwent its final major expansion, up to almost 83,000. This third phase also included the addition of the iconic yellow pylons on the exterior. With the World Cup returning to Germany in 2006, the country’s largest stadium underwent further improvements, reducing the capacity by around 1,500. The Signal Iduna Park hosted six matches in 2006, including Germany’s 2-0 semi-final defeat to eventual champions Italy. Through a combination of sitting and standing, the maximum number of spectators now totals 81,365.
At the start of 2021/22, the UEFA Executive Committee also approved a request from Dortmund to offer fans standing tickets at European games. Capacity had been limited to 66,099 in previous years, but the new safe standing areas mean that BVB can now call on the full might of the Signal Iduna Park and a packed-out Yellow Wall for their continental contests.
By car: Lying just to the south of Dortmund, the Signal Iduna Park is easily accessible from all directions thanks to Germany’s impressive Autobahn network. The A40/B1 provides access from the west or east, while the A54 serves those coming in from the south as well as the north through the city.
Parking: Germany’s largest stadium needs a large car park, and there are over 10,000 spaces available around the Signal Iduna Park. Spaces can be reserved in advance for the A8 car park, while there is also a shuttle bus that runs from the university car park on Otto-Hahn-Straße direct to the stadium.
By train: Long-distance ICE trains regularly serve Dortmund Hauptbahnhof (central station) from the east and south. IC services also arrive from northern destinations. From Hauptbahnhof there are local trains that go to the Signal Iduna Park station or you can use the U-Bahn to Westfalenhalle or Stadion. The cost of using public transport within the city is included in any Matchday tickets, but this does not include ICE/IC services.
While there may be space for over 81,000 fans inside the Signal Iduna Park, getting a ticket to experience the intense atmosphere first hand is competitive. Tickets sell like hot cakes and you need to be quick, but there is also a service whereby fans with tickets who cannot attend a game will sell back their ticket for others to enjoy.
There are a number of fan shops spread across Dortmund, but at over 2,000 m², the BVB-FanWelt at the Signal Iduna Park is by far the largest. From a ball pit themed around mascot Emma to a mini pitch to show off, this is more than simply a shop to pick up your BVB essentials. And when you’re done looking through thousands of products, you can even have a rest at the in-house cafe. The store is open from 10am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday. On Matchdays it is open until an hour after the game finishes, while on Sundays there are specific opening hours depending on the kick-off time.
There are tours to suit anyone wishing to visit the Signal Iduna Park. From an express 60-minute look through the changing rooms and behind-the-scenes action to a two-hour jolly including lunch or private group tours. The cost of these visits also includes access to the Borusseum – or Borussia Museum – to learn more about the history of one of the Bundesliga’s most successful clubs. Tours are available Monday to Friday except on Matchdays and public holidays. Click here for further information on Signal Iduna Park tours.
Did you know?
The official opening match at the Westfalenstadion was a friendly between BVB and local rivals Schalke on 2 April 1974, which the visitors from Gelsenkirchen won 3-0. However, there was a warm-up match prior to that game between the women’s teams of TBV Mengede and VfB Waltrop. The first-ever goal scored at the stadium was therefore netted by Margarethe Schäferhoff for Mengede in the 18th minute.
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