BORUSSIA DORTMUND II
Founded: Dec 19, 1909
Club Members: 175,000
Nickname: Die Schwarzgelben
Coach: Jan Zimmermann
Captain: Franz Pfanne
Regionalliga West: 3
Oberliga Westfalen: 3
Just like their Stadion Rote Erde home, which is dwarfed by the huge Signal Iduna Park next door, Borussia Dortmund II also stand in the shadow of a more illustrious neighbour. But, along with the club's other academy sides, they play a vital role in keeping Borussia Dortmund as the 'go-to' club for some of football's brightest young talents with the likes of Kerem Demirbay, Matthias Ginter, Alexander Isak, Julian Weigl and Jacob Bruun Larsen having all turned out for 'II' during their development by the BVB star factory.
Life for one of football's finest finishing schools began as 'Borussia Dortmund Amateure' in the post-war district Kreisliga before their first taste of success came with promotion to the Berzirksliga in 1957. A third-place finish the following season gave them momentum to secure promotion to the Landesliga Westfalen in 1964 before finishing eight points clear of Teutonia Lippstadt to lift the title and win promotion to the Westfalenliga in 1969 - at the time, the highest amateur league in the region. This triggered a yo-yo period however during which the side bounced around the amateur leagues before regaining their football composure and rising back up the pyramid to the fourth-tier Oberliga Westfalen by 1987.
Away from league action, Amateure also reached the final of the Westphalia Cup in 1991 and although they lost 1–6 against DSC Arminia Bielefeld, it earned them their first (and so far only) DFB-Pokal appearance the following season. 1. FC Saarbrucken ended the adventure at the first hurdle though with a 5–2 win played out in front of 1,800 fans at the Stadion Rote Erde.
In 1998, Michael Skibbe led the team to the Oberliga Westfalen title after a tour-de-force campaign which saw them finish ten points ahead of local rivals FC Schalke 04 II. Unfortunately, the transition from Oberliga juggernauts to Regionalliga underdogs wasn't handled particularly well and Dortmund only avoided an immediate relegation when Wuppertaler SV and FC 08 Homburg were demoted instead for failing to pay debts. There was no reprieve in 2001 however when they were relegated back to the Oberliga but bounced back immediately a year later and began an unbroken three-year spell in the Regionalliga Nord under new coach Horst Koppel.
Following an instruction from the DFL (German Football League) that all reserve teams of Bundesliga clubs had to replace 'Amateure ' with the roman numeral 'II', as 'Borussia Dortmund II', the side won promotion to the Regionalliga Nord in 2006 before finishing three points ahead of 1.FC Kaiserslautern II to clinch the 2009 Regionalliga West title and promotion to the 3.Liga for the first time. Life in the professional ranks was brief however after a disappointing campaign which saw them finish third bottom and make an immediate return to the fourth-tier.
In addition to helping produce the next generation of BVB players, Borussia Dortmund II is also where a number of young managers have cut their teeth before going on to have successful careers elsewhere. Future VfB Stuttgart, Hamburger SV and Bayer Leverkusen coach Hannes Wolf was in charge before Jurgen Klopp's best mate and future Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner took over the reigns in the summer of 2011 - guiding the team to the 3.Liga again with a 5-3 win at Wuppertaler SV on the final day of the 2011-12 season. Wagner stayed until the Westphalian side dropped back into the Regionalliga in 2015 before fellow Premier League managers Daniel Farke and Jan Siewert each had spells in charge. It was under current FC Augsburg coach Enrico Maaßen however that Zwote returned to the 3.Liga in 2021 when they were crowned Regionalliga West champions for a third time.
Ground Name: Stadion Rote Erde
Architect: Hans Strobel
Built: 1924 - 1926
Year Opened: 1926
Renovations: 1976, 2008, 2022
Capacity: 9,999 (6,999 standing)
Record Attendance: 39,000 (1969)
Construction Costs: DM 1.8m
Undersoil Heating: No
Running Track: Yes
Floodlights: 586 lux
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Stadion Rote Erde (1937 - )
The ageing Rote Erde ('Red Earth' - an ancient name for Westphalia) was home to Borussia Dortmund for 37 years until a period of success in the 1960's meant that it had become too small to cope with the club's growing support. Fortunately, when Dortmund moved into the newly-built Westfalenstadion next door in 1974, the Stadion Rote Erde wasn't demolished and seeing the stadia side by side highlights the clear difference between the Borussia Dortmund of the post-war years and the football behemoth it is today.
Plans for the stadium were first drawn up in 1921 when the city of Dortmund appointed architect Hans Strobel to build a Volkspark (People's Park) with a showpiece sports stadium at its heart. Opened on 6th June 1926 with a friendly between a Dortmund XI and FC Wacker München (who spoilt the party somewhat by trouncing the hosts 11-1), the new ground was used mainly for athletics and also hosted the 1927 Katholikentag attended by future Pope, Pius XII. Football became almost an afterthought and it wasn't until 1929 that the first official match took place here when Hertha BSC beat FC Schalke 4-1 in a German Championship quarter-final.
Following the National Socialist Party's seizure of power in 1933, the German Labour Front (a Nazi-led organisation that replaced Trade Unions) began a programme of building large parks close to factories so that workers could relax, get some fresh air and stay in shape in order to remain productive. Dortmund's beloved home at the time - Borussia Sportplatz, which club members had built themselves in 1924 - wasn't far from the Hoesch steel mill and in 1937 the Nazis informed the club that the stadium was being requisitioned (without compensation) for a public swimming pool that wasn't built until 1951 anyway !
Dortmund were suddenly homeless and the only option on the table was to play at Stadion Rote Erde - 'on the wrong side of the tracks' as far as fans were concerned and miles away from the Borussia heartland of Borsigplatz. It was a move deeply resented by the club's members, many of whom suspected that they were being punished by the regime for historically representing a left-wing community.
Once football and dictatorship had managed to untangle after the war (during which the stadium was badly damaged by Allied bombing raids), led by club legends like Timo Konietzka, Siggi Held and Adi Preißler; Dortmund became a major force in German football during the 1960s and it was during this time that the Stadion Rote Erde played host to one of the most famous matches in Bundesliga history - the Hundebiss (dog bite).
40,000 (some estimates put the figure closer to 50,000) had packed into the sold-out stadium for a clash against local Ruhrpott rivals FC Schalke 04 on 6th September 1969, and with hardly any room to watch the action, fans ended up standing on the running track around the pitch blocking the view of those in the stands as well as that of the Dortmund and Schalke coaches. After some chaotic scenes, the match got underway but things quickly got out of hand again when a Schalke goal just before half-time saw dozens of Schalke fans run onto the pitch to celebrate with their players. The stewards tried to drive them back but unfortunately their German Shepherd dogs were unmuzzled and Schalke players Gerd Neuser and Friedel Rausch were badly bitten. The game finished 1-1 and although they filed a protest, Schalke eventually let the matter drop - but not before their president Guenter Siebert had rented four lions from a local safari park to greet the Dortmund players onto the pitch at the next derby back in Gelsenkirchen !
Virtually unchanged since it opened, the Stadion Rote Erde is now home to Borussia Dortmund II (the club's Under-23 side) and its Ruhr sandstone, concrete and authoritarian construction breathes history - setting it apart from the steel and glass designs of new stadiums. The covered main stand with supporting pillars at the back is absolutely dwarfed by the massive east stand of the neighbouring Westfalenstadion (Signal Iduna Park) and the remaining sides of the low slung oval shaped ground offer concrete terraces open to the elements - which became an issue when the heavens above Dortmund opened up on our visit.
The most vocal home support gather in the main stand, with away followings given a few seats in the southern end of the stand along with a couple of sections (Blocks 15-16) on the terracing opposite. The stadium is notable for the sandstone Marathon Arch at the southern entrance and a leafy beer garden which you'll find as soon as you come into the stadium directly behind the North terrace. A well-maintained synthetic athletics track around the perimeter sets the ends behind each goal a fair distance from the action and reminds you that this is first and foremost a track and field stadium rather than a football ground. Four floodlights stand sentry in each corner of the ground but fall well below the 3.Liga requirement of 800 lux and Dortmund need special authorisation from the league to play their matches here.
The stadium has attracted criticism in the past for its small capacity, lack of undersoil heating and general poor condition and in 2007 the decision was made to give it a new lease of life. A €1.65 million renovation took place over 14 months with work focussing on the main stand, the Marathon Arch and refurbishment of the historic stadium gates. The Stadion Rote Erde underwent another revamp in 2022 with work carried out to repair the running track and lay a new pitch complete with drainage and undersoil heating. A delay to the project however followed the discovery of two mine shafts directly under the stadium and because backfilling these with concrete took more time than first anticipated, BVB II are still having to use Signal Iduna Park next door as a temporary home.
The formerly unloved stadium is a protected building having been added to the 'Monument List of Dortmund'. Despite this however, Borussia Dortmund are considering buying the Stadion Rote Erde from the city council although negotiations about the price have been dragging on since 2014.
In addition to being home to Borussia Dortmund II in 3.Liga, the stadium also plays host to local clubs LG Olympia Dortmund, Dortmund LAC, LC Rapid Dortmund and TuS Westphalia Hombruch. It's also hosted a couple of international matches (Third Reich v Irish Free State in 1935; West Germany v Albania in 1967) and often reverts back to its original athletics purpose when it is licenced to provide a capacity for 25,000 spectators (as oppose to just 9,999 for 3.Liga football).
Other events held here have included the 1952 'Legendary Europe' championship boxing match between Heinz Neuhaus and Hein ten Hoff which was watched by over 50,000 people; and the German Gymnastics Festival (Deutsches Turnfest ) in 1990.
2022-2023: 3,024 (3.Liga)
2021-2022: 1,580 (3.Liga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 1,101 (Regionalliga West) *
2018-2019: 792 (Regionalliga West)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
Despite having 'Borussia Dortmund' in their name, this is the much less heralded Under-23 team and getting hold of a ticket is as easy as it can be.
Simply show up at the ground about an hour before kick-off and ask at the ticket windows to either sit in the stand (adult/reduced €10/€5 ) or watch the action from the terraces (€5 - no discounts).
Tickets are usually only sold from the ticket boxes outside the ground on a matchday - although any exceptions are announced on the BVB website.
GETTING THERE & AWAY
If you're coming by car from the North, East or West, follow the B1 towards Dortmund. From the South, follow the A40 motorway, take the B54 Ruhrallee and follow directions to 'Stadion'. Free parking is available at the Luftbad car park behind the BVB FanWelt. There are also around 10,000 paid car park spaces around Signal Iduna Park and Messezentrum Westfalenhallen. Another option is to use the car park at Dortmund University (€2) on Otto Hahn Straße (A45 exit Eichlinghofen, then B1 exit Oespel/Kley) or, given the low turnout expected for 'Amateure ' matches, it may even be possible to park up for free along Strobelalle if you arrive early enough.
As often the case with 'II' teams in Germany, your match ticket does NOT include transport to and from the ground. It's only €2.25 from the city centre on the U-Bahn so there's no reason to jib the ride. From the Hauptbahnhof, you can either take U45 or U46 to Westfalenhallen; or the U42 line (Direction: Hombruch) to Theodore-Fliedner-Heim from where it's a 5-minute walk to the ground. Alternatively, S-Bahn trains from the Hauptbahnhof stop at the conveniently named Signal Iduna Park station. Bus 450 also stops at Westfalenhallen.
If you fancy the exercise or need to walk off pre-match pub grub, the stadium is two miles south west of the city centre which depending on your walking speed should take 30-40 minutes. The main road to pick up and follow is Hansastraße, which becomes Hohe Straße, for about a mile. You'll see the U-Bahn station Polizeipräsidium at which point the road leads into a traffic only tunnel. If you walk parallel to the road here and straight through the small park, you'll see two huge concert halls - the Westfalenhallen. Pass between them and you'll end up on Strobelalle. Turn right here and Stadion Rote Erde is down the road to your left, just before Signal Iduna Park which will have already come into view a distance away.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
There is a club shop called 'Fan Welt' at Signal Iduna Park for all your Schwarzgelben souvenirs (10am-6pm, Mon-Sat, open matchdays until one hour after the end of the match). Unless the first team are in action, the 2,000m² Fan Welt is closed on a Sunday, but if 'Amatuere ' are playing next door then a mobile Fan Shop opens up outside.
There's also a Fan Shop right next to the German Football Museum in the centre of Dortmund:
Königswall (Königswall 22, 44137 Dortmund; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
The club also have a number of other branches in the area:
CentrO Oberhausen (CentrO Oberhausen, Centro Allee 206, 46047 Oberhausen; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
Limbecker Platz (Limbecker Platz 1a, 45127 Essen; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
Krone (Markt 10-14, 44137 Dortmund; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
Thier Galerie (Westenhellweg 102-106, 44137 Dortmund; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
The 'Borusseum' in the north east corner of Signal Iduna Park, was set up by fans in 2008. It traces BVB's history - particularly its roots in the industrial heritage of this formerly strong mining area. General information about opening hours and ticket prices can be found here.
Stadium tours are conducted in German and English on non-match days and although they focus mainly on Signal Iduna Park, you can learn about Stadion Rote Erde's history from the knowledgeable guides. General information about booking a tour and prices can be found here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
There aren't any options outside the ground on a BVB II matchday except for a concession stand offering the typical German fan favourites of chips and bratwurst. Even Dortmund's club pub, Strobels, was closed on our visit. So, many fans tend to hop off the U42 and S4 at the Möllerbrücke station and head instead to the bars and restaurants of the Kreuzviertel district, a 15-minute walk away from Stadion Rote Erde along Lindemanstraße or Ardeystraße. One of the popular bars in this area is Mit Schmackes, a football-themed restaurant and fan pub co-owned by former Dortmund player Kevin Großkreutz.
Inside the ground, there's a charming tree-shaded beer garden (the Kronen Biergarten) as soon as you get through the turnstiles at the north end of the stadium and, unlike the fans who turn up to watch Marco Reus & co next door, you're spared any stadium payment card hassle and can buy your half-time bratwurst (€3) and beer (€3) pairing using cash.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Köln, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfL Bochum
BUNDESLIGA 2: FC Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf, SC Paderborn 07, VfL Osnabrück
3.LIGA: DSC Arminia Bielefeld, FC Viktoria Köln, MSV Duisburg, Preußen Münster, Rot Weiss Essen, SC Verl