Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund, commonly known as Borussia Dortmund, BVB, or simply Dortmund, is a German sports club based in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia (Borussia is the Latin equivalent of Prussia). The football team is part of a large membership-based sports club with more than 145,000 members, making BVB the second largest sports club by membership in Germany. Dortmund plays in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system. Dortmund is one of the most successful clubs in German football history.
Borussia Dortmund was founded in 1909 by eighteen football players from Dortmund. Borussia Dortmund have won eight German championships, three DFB-Pokals, five DFL-Supercups, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup. Their Cup Winners’ Cup win in 1966 made them the first German club to win a European title.
Since 1974, Dortmund have played their home games at Westfalenstadion, named after its home region of Westphalia. The stadium is the largest in Germany and Dortmund has the highest average attendance of any association football club in the world. Borussia Dortmund’s colours are black and yellow, giving the club its nickname die Schwarzgelben. Dortmund holds a long-standing rivalry with Ruhr neighbours Schalke 04, known as the Revierderby. In terms of Deloitte’s annual Football Money League, Dortmund is the second biggest sports club in Germany and the 11th in the world.
The club was founded on 19 December 1909 by a group of young men unhappy with church-sponsored Trinity Youth, where they played football under the stern and unsympathetic eye of the local parish priest. Father Dewald was blocked at the door when he tried to break up the organizing meeting being held in a room of the local pub, Zum Wildschütz.
The founders were Franz and Paul Braun, Henry Cleve, Hans Debest, Paul Dziendzielle, Franz, Julius and Wilhelm Jacobi, Hans Kahn, Gustav Müller, Franz Risse, Fritz Schulte, Hans Siebold, August Tönnesmann, Heinrich and Robert Unger, Fritz Weber, Franz Wendt and Benno Elkan. The name Borussia is Latin for Prussia but was taken from Borussia beer from the nearby Borussia brewery in Dortmund.
The team began playing in blue and white striped shirts with a red sash, and black shorts. In 1913, they donned the black and yellow stripes so familiar today.
Over the next decades the club enjoyed only modest success playing in local leagues. They had a brush with bankruptcy in 1929 when an attempt to boost the club’s fortunes by signing some paid professional footballers failed miserably and left the team deep in debt. They survived only through the generosity of a local supporter who covered the team’s shortfall.
The 1930s saw the rise of the Third Reich, which restructured sports and football organizations throughout the nation to suit the regime’s goals. Borussia’s president was replaced when he refused to join the Nazi Party, and a couple of members who surreptitiously used the club’s offices to produce anti-Nazi pamphlets were executed in the last days of the war.
Like every other organisation in Germany, Borussia was dissolved by the Allied occupation authorities after the war in an attempt to distance the country’s institutions from its so-recent Nazi past. There was a short-lived attempt to merge the club with two others – Werksportgemeinschaft Hoesch and Freier Sportverein 98 – as Sportgemeinschaft Borussia von 1898, but it was as Ballspiel-Verein Borussia (BVB) that they made their first appearance in the final in 1949, where they lost 2–3 to VfR Mannheim.