Located in the heart of Germany's post-industrial heartland in the Ruhr Valley, Borussia Dortmund is one of the biggest clubs in world football - let alone in the Bundesliga. Apart from being viewed as a poster club for stadium atmosphere, they've also won admirers for their policy of youth development which has produced a fantastic conveyor belt of world class talent who, after making their name at Dortmund, often move onto Madrid, Manchester or (much to the consternation of BVB fans) Munich.
Founded in 1909 as 'Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V Dortmund', they are one of the most successful clubs in Germany with eight league titles, four DFB Pokals, six DFB Supercups, one UEFA Champions League, one European Cup Winners Cup and one Intercontinental Cup to their name. In fact, their 1966 Cup Winners Cup triumph made them the first German club to win a European title.
Dortmund really came to the attention of many football fans during the 1990s when awareness of European club football was beginning to rise. It was around this time that a number of big-name players were brought back from playing in Italy to challenge the dominance of Bayern Munich, and with manager Ottmar Hitzfeld at the helm, the likes of Andy Möller, Jürgen Kohler, Matthias Sammer and Karl Heinz Riedle helped Dortmund win the Bundesliga in 1995 & 1996 before going on to record their only Champions League title the following season. After Hitzfeld moved to bitter rivals Bayern Munich at the start of the following season, a period of declining on and off-field fortunes (including a brush with near bankruptcy in 2005) followed, and it wasn't until the appointment of a certain Jürgen Klopp in 2008 that Dortmund began to challenge again. They won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2011 & 2012, playing a unique brand of 'Heavy Metal Football' before narrowly losing the Champions League final to Bayern Munich in 2013.
Even though they haven't been able to consistently challenge Munich's domestic dominance since those heady days, the clashes against Bayern Munich (Der Klassiker) and FC Schalke 04 (Der Revierderby) are by far the biggest matches in Germany, and BVB remain the one club in Germany that all football fans should surely have on their 'must visit' list.
Ground Name: Signal Iduna Park
Year Opened: 1974
Capacity: 81,365 (28,337 standing)
Web Site: www.bvb.de/eng
Signal Iduna Park is the largest ground in Germany with a capacity of 81,365; and it regularly tops 'Best Stadium' polls by football fans around the world.
It's a striking box of a stadium and the famous yellow colour of Dortmund contrasts with the cold brutalist 1970's architecture. Built for the 1974 World Cup and originally named 'Westfalenstadion', it replaced Dortmund's former home - the aging 'Stadion Rote Erde' which had quickly become too small for the club's growing support in the 1960's. Fortunately, unlike many old grounds, Stadion Rote Erde wasn't demolished and still stands on it's original site next to the giant east stand of Signal Iduna Park. Seeing the two stadia side by side shows the clear difference between the Borussia Dortmund of the post war years and the football behemoth it is today.
With an original capacity of 54,000, the Westfalenstadion was inaugurated on 2nd April 1974 with a 'friendly' match between Dortmund and their great Ruhr Valley rivals FC Schalke ’04. Several years later the north stand was converted into an all-seater reducing the ground capacity to just 42,800. It wasn't until the mid 1990's after a period of increasing on-field success that a programme of expansion took place with extra tiers gradually being added to all four stands to take the capacity back up to 68,800. Capacity was further increased when work began in 2002 to close the previously open four corners of the stadium ahead of the World Cup in 2006.
At the end of 2005, insurance company Signal Iduna secured naming rights to the stadium and the Westfalenstadion was renamed Signal Iduna Park. For the World Cup the following year, the stadium was converted to all-seater, which temporarily brought the capacity back down from 82,000 to 67,000. During the tournament the stadium hosted four group matches, one round of 16 match and the semi-final between Germany and Italy which the hosts lost 0-2
After further expansion during the 2010-2011 season, the current stadium capacity stands at 81,365 thanks in part to the huge Südtribune. This stand is Europe's largest football terrace and on matchdays it is packed with almost 25,000 Borussia Dortmund fans - giving rise to it's famous nickname 'Die Gelbe Wand' (The Yellow Wall). Another area of terracing can be found in the lower tier of the opposite north stand for away supporters. The rest of the stadium is given over to seating, and unlike many of Dortmund's European peers it isn't built for corporate entertainment with only 11 corporate boxes available (compared to 106 at Bayern München's Allianz Arena).
Expected Ticket Availability
Given the club's enormous popularity both in Germany and around the world, Borussia Dortmund tickets are extremely hard to come by. For years now, home games have nearly always sold out and unfortunately it goes without saying that demand will continue to exceed supply for the forseeable future.
If you're determined enough to see 'Die Schwarzgelben' in action, start by registering with the club through 'Eventim Sports' to check availability. However, unless it's a match in the early stages of either the Europa League or DFB Pokal, don’t be too surprised to find no tickets are available on general sale. Even as a club member you have to apply for tickets, so before you think of signing up and parting with your cash to get into a game, be warned that this tactic isn't a guarantee of success at a club like Borussia Dortmund.
Simply deciding to become a season ticket holder isn't the quick fix that you might hope it to be either. A total of 55,000 season tickets (nearly 75% of total ground capacity!) were allocated for 2019/20, and to even get the opportunity to buy one, you'll first have to join a waiting list, where according to recent figures, there will be at least 50,000 people ahead of you in the queue.
Your only other option is to try the secondary sellers either online or outside the stadium and be prepared to pay a premium ... if they have any tickets to sell in the first place.
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'. There are around 10,000 paid car park spaces around Signal Iduna Park and Messezentrum Westfalenhallen. Another option however is to use the car park at Dortmund University (€2) on Otto Hahn Straße (A45 exit 'Eichlinghofen', then B1 exit 'Oespel/Kley') from where a free shuttle bus operates to and from the stadium.
Match tickets (if you're lucky enough to get one! - see Buying Tickets ) can be used to travel to and from Signal Iduna Park anywhere within the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) region. From Dortmund's Hauptbahnhof, you can either take U45 or U46 to 'Westfalenhallen'; or the U42 line (towards Hombruch) to ''Theodore-Fliedner-Heim' from where it's a 5 minute walk to the ground. Alternatively, trains from the Hauptbahnhof stop at the conveniently named 'Signal Iduna Park' station. Bus 450 also stops at 'Westfalenhallen'.
If you do fancy the exercise or need to walk off the pre-match beer and bratwurst, 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 and Signal Iduna Park is down the road to your left, just past the Stadion Rote Erde.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
There is a club shop (FanWelt) at the stadium for all your yellow and black souveniers.
The 'BORUSSEUM', in the north east corner of the stadium, 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. Information about opening hours and ticket prices can be found here.
Stadium Tours are conducted in German and English on non match days. Information about booking a tour and prices can be found here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
There aren't many options outside the ground except for the usual concession stands offering the usual German football fayre e.g beer, Bratwurst, Currywurst etc.The same options are also available inside the stadium and Borussia Dortmund lays claim to having the cheapest beer and Bratwurst pricing in the Bundesliga. The official beer at the stadium is 'Brinkhoffs'. Payment for food and drink is made using the club’s 'Stadiondeckel' card which can be obtained at many points in the stadium and in all BVB fan shops. There are however some outlets within the ground that also accept good old fashioned cash.