Borussia Dortmund's all-time top XI, featuring Robert Lewandowski, Jürgen Klopp and Mats Hummels
A German and European institution, Borussia Dortmund has long been home to some of the globe's finest football talent. With five Bundesliga titles, four German Cups and one UEFA Champions League in the club trophy cabinet, there has certainly never been a lack of star dust around the Signal Iduna Park, but which players would make it into an all-time XI?
Designed to provoke debate, here is a BVB all-time XI chosen by the brains at bundesliga.com towers. There could have been – and in some cases, there were – arguments for several others, but let the discussions now commence.
Perhaps best known worldwide for a bus trick he conjured up with Nuri Sahin in 2011 going viral before virality was in vogue, Weidenfeller doubles up as Borussia Dortmund's finest ever goalkeeper and has made almost 350 Bundesliga appearances for BVB since arriving from Kaiserslautern in summer 2002 at the age of 21.
A key member of Jürgen Klopp's freewheeling, high-pressing side around the turn of the decade and crucial in the double-winning 2011/12 campaign, Weidenfeller often stood in as captain in Sebastian Kehl's stead. Now 37 and the grandfather of this young BVB unit, Weidenfeller is always on hand in case of injury or crisis.
Despite losing his place upon Roman Bürki's arrival in 2015, it is credit to the man that he has never complained in public, rather putting his head down and working harder. Although perhaps not the most comfortable with the ball at his feet, Weidenfeller has always been an excellent shot-stopper and commanding in his area.
Described as an "on-field human stop sign," by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Kohler was known to Dortmund fans simply as "Fußballgott" (football God). That moniker was coined after a legendary display at Old Trafford in the 1997 UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester United. Kohler made no fewer than three clearances off the line (from David Beckham, Eric Cantona and Ryan Giggs) to help BVB secure a 2-0 aggregate triumph after Lars Ricken's early goal on the night. The defensive masterclass was made all the more impressive given that Kohler had been suffering from gastroenteritis in the build-up.
Of course, BVB went onto win the European Cup that season, and while Kohler's nickname might have stemmed from one performance, it is not just his efforts in the one game for which he is remembered. The 1990 FIFA World Cup winner made 191 top-flight outings for BVB between 1995 and 2002, adding two Bundesliga titles to an already-overflowing trophy cabinet.
A brilliant centre-back famed for his rough-and-ready tackling style, Kohler was fittingly dismissed in his final BVB appearance in 2002 – in a 3-2 UEFA Cup final defeat to Feyenoord in Rotterdam. Reminiscing about his career in an interview with 11Freunde in 2012, Kohler said, with a tinge of regret, "the times when you could follow your opposite number right to the toilet [while marking him] are long gone."
Typically Brazilian in that he was perhaps more comfortable going forward than defending, Dede was unfortunate that his best days in the mid-2000s coincided with a certain Roberto Carlos in the Brazil left-back spot.
What a servant Dede was for another side in yellow, though. The Belo Horizonte native might only have won one Selecao cap, but he made 322 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund between 1998 and 2011, sitting third on the all-time list by Brazilians in the top flight.
Granted a fantastic send-off in 2011 after helping to usher in Klopp's glory days by winning the Bundesliga title, Dede is still remembered fondly at the Signal Iduna Park.
When voted by fans into BVB's team of the century, Dede told schwatzgelb.de it was "one of the best things that had ever happened since being in Dortmund," continuing: "I didn't play at the top level all the time, but I always gave 100 per cent and went for every ball. That is how I am. I am really happy that the fans noticed that. I didn't earn that by giving interviews or with TV ads. I earned that on the pitch."
Upon Klopp's only return to the Signal Iduna Park as the opposition coach – in charge of Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in April 2016 – there was a moment when he stood on the halfway line during the warm-ups, looking at the Dortmund team, and beyond them to the Gelbe Wand in all its glory. Perhaps, just perhaps, Klopp was wondering whether leaving what was a match made in heaven the previous summer had been the right decision.
Indeed, Klopp was the perfect coach for BVB: although not from the region, he was a man who understood the locals and personified both their work ethic and passion for their club, in the process turning that club into one of Europe's most feared.
Cultivating and pioneering the Gegenpressing style of football that has since become synonymous with the club and the Bundesliga, Klopp took BVB to two league titles, a DFB Cup and the Champions League final, catching the imaginations of a country and continent and bloodying the noses of Europe's aristocrats, Bayern and Real Madrid, along the way.
"Thank you, Jürgen," read a banner on the Südtribune on the day of his final home game, a 3-2 win against Werder Bremen. "It'll be a long time until we understand just how precious these moments were."