A Borussia Dortmund lad through and through, Marco Reus (c.) embodies the club's values better than anyone. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
A Borussia Dortmund lad through and through, Marco Reus (c.) embodies the club's values better than anyone. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund: 10 things you need to know about the North Rhine-Westphalia giants

With five Bundesliga titles, four DFB Cups and one UEFA Champions League victory to their name, Borussia Dortmund are one of the undisputed heavyweights of German football.

The North Rhine-Westphalia giants are known to millions of supporters worldwide, their thrill-a-minute brand of football and passionate fanbase luring fans to the Signal Iduna Park from across the globe. But what else is there to know about the Yellow-Blacks? bundesliga.com investigates…

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

1) Europe's highest attended stadium

The Bundesliga remains one of the best attended leagues in Europe, thanks in no small part to Dortmund and their legions of loyal supporters. Last November, BVB’s world-famous Signal Iduna Park topped a study by DeporFinanza as the highest attended football arena on the continent with an average attendance of 80,830 - 6,000 more than record Premier League champions Manchester United. Crucially, fans don’t need to delve too deep into their pockets to see their yellow-and-black heroes in action, with the club’s most expensive season ticket costing just €907 in 2018/19.

3) English fans' second club?

The opportunity to experience the Signal Iduna Park’s spine-tingling matchday atmosphere attracts football fans from around the globe, including UK-based supporters of the beautiful game. In the year following BVB’s 2012/13 UEFA Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich, approximately 1,000 British fans were reported to be attending every home match - an astonishing figure. It is a love affair that continues to this day. "We've now got over 15,000 followers on our Facebook page," Benjamin McFadyean, founder of the Borussia Dortmund London Fan Club, told ESPN recently. "Our page is filled with reviews from people who've been out to Germany. Almost all of them say they are longing to go back."

- © imago / Ferdi Hartung

4) Timo Konietzka - Bundesliga history maker

On 24 August 1963 - just over a year after the Bundesliga was founded in Dortmund - BVB’s Friedhelm 'Timo' Konietzka scored the division's first ever goal, just 58 seconds into the Yellow-Blacks' home game against Werder Bremen. Incredibly, the striker repeated the trick two seasons later as an 1860 Munich player, netting the first goal of the 1965/66 campaign inside the opening minute of Die Löwen's clash with local rivals Bayern. Konietzka remained the only player to have twice scored the opening goal of a Bundesliga season until 2014, when Thomas Müller equalled that feat by breaking the deadlock in Bayern's curtain-raiser against Wolfsburg.

- © imago / Buzzi

7)Revolving door of star strikers

Dortmund have seen a number of world-class centre-forwards come and go in recent years, but the Yellow-Blacks have developed an impressive knack of filling the void left by their departing marksmen. When Robert Lewandowski joined Bayern after plundering 74 goals in 131 BVB appearances, a certain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rebranded himself as a goalscorer supreme, netting 98 times in 144 outings all told before signing for Arsenal.

Watch: Paco Alcacer's perfect Dortmund start

Michy Batshuayi took up the baton following the Gabon international’s departure, registering in victories against Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Hannover and Stuttgart to help Borussia to a top-four finish in 2017/18. Dortmund’s latest high-profile marksman, Paco Alcacer, looks well equipped to emulate his predecessors this term.

8) Young blood

Dortmund are renowned as a fertile breeding ground for world-class footballers, and in Lucien Favre Borussia now have a head coach who has forged a reputation for nurturing and developing up-and-coming stars (just ask Marco Reus!). Chief among BVB’s enviable pool of young talent are 2018 Golden Boy award nominee Christian Pulisic, the USMNT poster boy who is set to make his 100th appearance for the club on his 20th birthday, and 18-year-old England youth international Jadon Sancho, whose skilful performances have drawn favourable comparisons with Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar. The likes of Dan-Axel Zagadou (19), Mahoud Dahoud (22) and Abdou Diallo (22) will also be hoping to catch the former Borussia Mönchengladbach coach’s eye this season.

9 ) Ruhrpott rivalry

One of the most passionately contested encounters in the world game, the Revierderby means more to fans of Dortmund and their regional rivals, Schalke, than any other meeting in the footballing calendar. Just 32 kilometres separate the two clubs, who are both based in Germany’s industrial heartland of the Ruhr Valley. Dortmund have more in common with their Royal Blue counterparts than they would care to admit, including shared roots in the coal and steel industries and a predominantly working-class fan base. Rest assured, however, the two sets of supporters enjoy nothing more than to put one over their bitter rivals.

10) Echte Liebe - more than a slogan

Dortmund fans will have seen the words “Echte Liebe” - or “true love” - emblazoned all around the Signal Iduna Park, on club merchandise and across BVB’s social media platforms. But who came up with Borussia’s famous slogan? “As CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has often alluded to, there was a lot of aimless to-ing and fro-ing at the club before Jürgen Klopp’s arrival,” Carsten Cramer, Dortmund’s Director of Marketing and Sales, told SPOX. “Back then, we had to ask ourselves: ‘What does BVB stand for? What’s its identity?’ Together with our partners, fans and club members, we eventually came up with that slogan. ‘Echte Liebe’ is in BVB’s DNA. No-one can take it from us.”

Watch: Dortmund's Echte Liebe in action

Borussia Dortmund honours

German Championship

Winners (8): 1956, 1957, 1963, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2011, 2012

DFB Cup

Winners (4): 1965, 1989, 2012, 2017

Supercup

Winners (5): 1989, 1995, 1996, 2013, 2014

UEFA Champions League

Winners (1): 1997

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup

Winners (1): 1966

Leading Bundesliga goalscorer: Manfred Burgsmüller, 135

Leading Bundesliga appearance-maker: Michael Zorc, 462

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