BVB wird deutscher Meister 2002

1999 – Crash and Rebirth

The major sporting successes of the 1990s were hardly financially sustainable. The expensive team and, even more so, the expansion of the stadium in three construction phases brought Borussia Dortmund to the brink of insolvency. The rescue was narrowly achieved.

In the 1999/2000 season, things became tight on the sporting front as well. Matthias Sammer, who played his last game in October 1997, and Udo Lattek had to save the team from relegation. The team was again heavily reinforced, and in 2002, they gained five points on Leverkusen in the final three matchdays to win the German championship. Unfortunately, they lost the UEFA Cup final 2-3 to Feyenoord Rotterdam.

On December 22, 2003, journalists Thomas Hennecke (kicker) and Freddie Röckenhaus (Süddeutsche Zeitung) uncovered BVB's financial crisis. Under the leadership of Dr. Gerd Niebaum, the club had accumulated liabilities amounting to 118.9 million euros. In November 2004, Dr. Reinhard Rauball once again took over the presidency, and together with the new CEO of the KGaA, Hans-Joachim Watzke, they managed to avert the impending insolvency and initiate consolidation in spring 2005.

Sportingly, BVB was no longer dominant. From third place in 2003, they dropped to sixth and twice to seventh, then ninth, and finally 13th by the end of the 2007/2008 season. However, in that year, they reached the cup final for the first time since 1989, narrowly losing 1-2 after extra time to Bayern Munich.

THE stroke of sporting luck came with the appointment of Jürgen Klopp as head coach for the 2008/2009 season. However, the success story started with a (minor) disappointment: For the first time in league history, 59 points were not enough for European qualification. BVB missed out on fifth place on the last matchday with a 1-1 draw in Gladbach.

Anecdotes from the Decade

April 14, 2000

A Case for Two: Lattek and Sammer to Rescue BVB

"Hailed as an Alien" (kicker Sports Magazine), Borussia's new coach Udo Lattek is marvelled at on this Friday upon his arrival at the BVB training ground "Rabenloh." No wonder: The appointment of the 65-year-old renowned and already retired football fox to the coaching position of the Black and Yellows is considered a sensation. Alongside him is the 32-year-old coaching novice Matthias Sammer, who would only obtain his coaching license two months later. Their task in this "Case for Two" is to save the crisis-ridden Borussia, who have been winless for 12 games, from the impending relegation. The duo adopts a clear division of roles: The media professional and motivational artist Lattek is to relieve the team from psychological pressure, while the perfectionist and analyst Sammer is responsible for the team's sporting direction. The mission succeeds. BVB earns eight points from the remaining five games and finishes eleventh in the final standings. "Firefighter" Udo Lattek has had enough of the nerve-wracking season finale and steps back from active football management, observing the Bundesliga from the perspective of a commentator. Rookie coach Sammer leads BVB alone into a more successful future.

October 31, 2000

The IPO of BVB: Borussia's Future Has Begun

When it came to sporting historic achievements, BVB often led the pack: as the first and only club, the Black and Yellows defended the German championship with the same eleven, became the first German club to win the European Cup in 1966 and the Champions League in 1997. Since October 2000, Borussia Dortmund's name represents another pioneering achievement of historical dimension, this time not in sports but in economics: as the first German Bundesliga club, BVB went public. On October 31, 2000, the BVB shares were listed on the Official Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, with an initial offering price of eleven euros.

This step was made possible by the decision of the BVB's general meeting on November 28, 1999, regarding the transformation of parts of the club into a public limited partnership (KGaA). The goal of this transformation and subsequent move to the stock market was to broaden BVB's economic base, ensuring the long-term expansion of the club's international competitiveness. "If a club like Borussia Dortmund wants to continue shaping football in Germany and Europe not just in the next two or three years, but in the next 15 years, going public is a logical and meaningful step," emphasizes BVB President Dr. Gerd Niebaum, who referred to the IPO as "a second birthday party for the club."

Nevember 14, 2000

Heiko Herrlich Seriously Ill

Not only all Borussia fans, but the entire football world is shocked: Borussia Dortmund announces at a press conference that national player Heiko Herrlich is suffering from a brain tumor. The striker had previously complained of vision problems. "We are deeply affected. The situation shows that there are more important things than match results and league standings. However, the doctors have given us hope that Heiko Herrlich can fully recover and continue his career as a footballer," informs a visibly shaken Dr. Niebaum, at Herrlich's explicit request. In the following days, BVB receives thousands of faxes and emails from all over Germany with get-well wishes for the 28-year-old striker. Four months later, Heiko Herrlich announces at another press conference that, according to the treating physicians, he has overcome his serious illness. He explicitly thanks the nursing staff and especially BVB team doctor Dr. Preuhs, who stood by him throughout the entire treatment phase. On July 3, 2001, the striker celebrates his comeback in a BVB jersey at the preseason tournament in Kriens.

April 4, 2002

European Cup Star Moment: Amoroso's Gala against Milan

Younger BVB fans rub their eyes in amazement, while long-time supporters feel reminded of Borussia's legendary 5-0 victory over Benfica Lisbon in 1963. Sensationally, but deservedly, Dortmund sweep the six-time European Cup winner and three-time World Cup winner AC Milan out of the stadium in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-finals. The celebrated hero of this black-yellow European Cup star moment is Marcio Amoroso, who secures the victory in the first half with his hat-trick (8th, 34th, and 39th minute). Jörg Heinrich seals the deal in the second half (63rd minute). Even more impressive than the raw scoreline is the manner in which it is achieved. The Italian renowned club is at times outclassed this evening; the Borussians, led by Amoroso, Ewerthon, and Dede, showcase wonderful football that electrifies the 52,000 spectators.

The four-goal cushion proves to be gold in Milan 14 days later. AC Milan launches a comeback, and Inzaghi's penalty in injury time reduces the deficit to just one goal before Lars Ricken scores Dortmund's third goal, sealing a 3-1 final result that definitively sends Dortmund to the final in Rotterdam.

May 4, 2002

Heart-Stopping Final: BVB Crowned German Champions for the Sixth Time

On the afternoon of May 4, 2002, what sports journalists commonly refer to as a "heart-stopping final" unfolds. The conditions for the title showdown on the last matchday of the 2001/2002 season are clear: Dortmund leads the table with one point ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and two points ahead of FC Bayern.

The decisive match against Werder Bremen at the Westfalenstadion resembles the twists and turns that BVB and its fans have experienced throughout the season: Amoroso's free-kick hitting the crossbar, Bremen taking the lead through Stalteri, the confident championship rivals, Koller's equalizer from a chance that wasn't, Addo's shot hitting the post. Dortmund's Brazilian, Ewerthon, is already warming up on the sidelines when Bremen's Tjikuzu, with a huge chance, chooses the more difficult of the two options: he shoots the ball not into the Dortmund goal but only against it.

Coach Sammer himself admits after the crossbar hit: "If that had been Werder's lead again, we wouldn't have come back." Instead, little Ewerthon, who only joined BVB during the season and made a great debut against St. Pauli, proves to be a specialist in lightning starts once again. Some wanted to be exact and timed it: he's in the game for 49 seconds when he pushes Dede's cross over the line in the 74th minute, triggering a noise level in the Westfalenstadion, not exactly known as a place of silence, that has probably never been heard before – Borussia Dortmund is crowned German champions for the sixth time.

September 13, 2003

Expansion and "Noble Strike": The Westfalenstadion was "sealed off"

The third expansion phase is completed, all four expanded corner areas of the Westfalenstadion are opened for use, and in Dortmund stands the largest and, for many, the most beautiful football temple in Germany: 80,500 spectators witness BVB's 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen, the second-largest crowd in Bundesliga history to date. On December 3, it becomes certainty: the FIFA World Cup 2006 organizing committee awards Dortmund not only four group stage matches and a round of 16 game but also a semi-final.

President Dr. Niebaum describes this decision as a "noble strike" for the Westfalenstadion. On January 30, 2004, the Dortmund football opera is sold out for the first time after the expansion: 83,000 spectators attend the Revierderby against Schalke. However, this stadium expansion proves to be unaffordable for BVB.

It is temporarily sold to a closed-end real estate fund, but even the interest and repayment obligations for the later repurchase turn out to be too ambitious. In spring 2005, Borussia Dortmund is on the brink of insolvency, narrowly avoiding it.

Sportingly, fans experience highs and lows in the following years. Although the costs for the squad had to be more than halved, and there were precarious phases in which Borussia Dortmund faced relegation danger, the club ultimately achieved rankings between seventh and ninth.

The lowest point in these lean years was the 2007/2008 season, which ended in 13th place - mainly because the team seemed to focus solely on the DFB-Pokal from spring onwards, where they made it to the final for the first time since 1989.