Whenever Borussia Dortmund have reason to celebrate, the festivities take place at Borsigplatz, a large, circular plaza to the north-east of the city centre.
It is therefore only fitting that it is also the starting place of the club’s Walk of Fame, a pilgrimage of sorts for BVB fans which marks the major events in Dortmund’s history on a route that leads all the way to their iconic stadium, the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK.
Walk down memory lane
In total there are 105 bronze stars embedded in stone on the pavement, each one representing a landmark in Dortmund’s past, be it a highlight, turning point, important figure or key player.
Constructed in 2009 to honour the 100th anniversary of the club’s founding, the Walk of Fame was made possible thanks to the help of sponsors and private donations. BVB president Dr. Reinhard Rauball called it “a wonderful documentation of the history of Borussia Dortmund.” Rauball himself has been immortalised with his own star - number 62 on Hohen Straße – engraved with the year 1979, which is when he first assumed the role of club president.
Indeed, the route through the city is both informative and emotive: as well as detailing interesting episodes from Dortmund’s past, it evokes memories among fans. For instance, star number 12 dates back to 1943, when die Schwarz-Gelben beat arch-rivals FC Schalke 04 for the first time.
Star number one is situated directly in front of the Church of the Holy Trinity, close to Borsigplatz, marking the birthplace of the club over a century ago; star nine recalls August Lenz, Dortmund’s first ever Germany international, and star 19 documents Dortmund’s first German championship in 1956.
Other memorable moments include the goalpost falling over in Madrid in 1998 (star 90), the club being saved from bankruptcy in 2005 (star 94), and a dog biting Schalke player Friedel Rausch in the backside during a Revierderby encounter in 1969 (star 57). Current sporting director Michael Zorc also has a star (number 82), in honour of his efforts captaining the side to the Bundesliga title in 1995 and 1996, as well as to UEFA Champions League glory in 1997.
As the Walk of Fame was planned to mark the club’s centenary, it was supposed to end with 100 stars at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK. Yet as Dortmund enjoyed significant successes after 2009, such as a maiden league and cup double in 2012, subsequent stars have since been added to the collection – and no doubt there will be many more to come.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund