According to Kicker sports magazine, Udo Lattek’s first appearance at the BVB training ground at ”Rabenloh“ was like the arrival of an alien. Little wonder then the appointment of the renowned yet believed to have retired 65-year-old to the position of coach at BVB is pretty sensational news. At his side he will have the coaching novice, 32-year-old Matthias Sammer who would not complete his licence until two months later. Perhaps the job of pulling together a crisis-riddled team without a win in 12 games really is a job for two men. The two men have clearly defined roles. Udo Lattek, media savvy and a great motivator is charged with taking the pressure off the players while perfectionist and analyst Matthias Sammer will be responsible for tactics. The mission is accomplished. BVB take eight points from their last five games and climb to eleventh in the table. Udo Lattek calls it a day at the end of those stressful final weeks and returns to his role as a TV commentator. New boy Sammer takes the reigns alone moving forward.
BVB have often been at the forefront of things on the field. They were the first club to become champions twice with exactly the same eleven; they were the first German club to win in Europe in 1966, and the first Champions League winners in 1997. And now, in October 2000, off the field BVB once again take the lead becoming the first German Bundesliga club to float on the stock market. The opening price on the Frankfurt market was eleven Euros.
This move was made possible following a decision taken at the annual general meeting on 28 November 1999. It was decided to re-create the club into a joint-stock company. The aim of this move and floating on the stock exchange is to strengthen the club’s finances which will allow, in turn, the club to compete internationally. BVB president Dr Gerd Niebaum described the club’s going public as its second Birthday adding, „If a club like BVB can mix it with the big boys in Europe not just for the next two or three years but over the next fifteen then this move can be viewed as a success.“
The whole of world football, not just BVB fans, are shocked to hear the news at a BVB press conference that Heiko Herrlich has been diagnosed as having a brain tumour. The striker had complained of impaired vision. Dr. Niebaum. Clearly very distressed, said ”We are so sad. It just goes to show that there are more important things than football, results and league positions. However, our medical team report that there is a good chance of Heiko making a full recovery and resuming his playing career.“ In the days that followed the announcement, BVB was inundated by faxes and e-mails from across the football globe expressing their good wishes for Heiko. Four months later Herrlich holds a press conference to say that thanks to the fine work of the doctors he had conquered the threat. He was effusive in his thanks to the club and particularly club doctor Dr. Preuhs who had always been at his side. On 3 July 2001, during a pre-season tournament in Kriens, Herrlich returns to BVB action.
Younger BVB fans could not believe their eyes, whilst old-timers recalled the amazing 5-0 win over Benfica in 1963. Sensationally, but utterly deservedly, Dortmund put AC Milan to the sword in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-final. The six-time European, three-time World champion club was simply swept away. Undoubted star of this historic evening was Marcio Amoroso with a hat trick (8th, 34th and 39th minutes). It was almost all over by half-time but just to be sure Heinrich added a fourth after 63 minutes. It was not just the result, but the manner of it that so impressed as the Italian legends were demolished with Amoroso, Ewerthon and Dede lighting up the evening for the 52,000 fans with wonderful football.
The four-goal cushion was much needed for the return leg did not go so smoothly fourteen days later. Indeed, an Inzaghi penalty in time added on brought the home side to within a goal of levelling before Lars Ricken shot home to secure Borussia’s place in the Final in Rotterdam.
The day was 4 May 2002. The scene was set for a climactic finish to the 2001/02 season. Dortmund went into the last day a point ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and two ahead of Bayern. The final home game of the season against Werder Bremen was a mirror image of the highs and lows BVB fans had experienced all season. A shot against the bar by Amoroso, Werder taking the lead, other rivals taking control of their games early on to add to the pressure, then Koller’s equaliser, Addo hits the post, while on the side-lines Emerson warms up. Then Tiikuzu opted for the more difficult path when a goal seemed certain and only struck the woodwork.
Sammer was quite convinced after the game ”that had that gone in there was no way we were going to come back again.“ But on comes Ewerthon, who had joined the club during the season and made a great debut against St. Pauli. And here he did it again. People have since calculated that it was exactly 49 seconds after coming on that he fired home the winner on 74 minutes to prompt a wave of sound in the Westfalen stadium that had never before been experienced even in that less than quiet ground. Borussia Dortmund, German champions for a sixth time.
The third phase of the redevelopment is now complete. All four corners of the Westfalen stadium are now in full use. Dortmund now has the most beautiful and biggest footballing ’temple‘ in all of Germany. The game against Werder Bremen (2-1 win) was watched by 80,500 fans, the second biggest crowd in the history of the Bundesliga. On December 3 confirmation was finally received that the stadium would host four group matches, a quarter final and a semi-final of the 2006 World Cup. Dortmund president Dr Niebaum described this as a huge honour for the club. On January 30, 2004 the stadium was packed to its capacity for the first time when Schalke 04 came to town for a game witnessed by 83,000. But these stadium developments cannot be paid for by BVB. The ground is leased to a property developer but any hope of ever buying back ownership is simply going to be beyond the club’s funds. In the spring of 2005 Borussia Dortmund only just escape bankruptcy.
The fans experienced a roller coaster of success and failure in the years thereafter. With the cost of the squad necessarily halved, the team went through some dark times on the pitch too. At times relegation was a real possibility but generally the club ended up between 7th and 9th place.
2007/08 was the low point when the club finished in 13th spot. A significant reason for this poor showing was the considerable distraction of the German (DFB) Cup the final of which was reached for the first time since 1989.