Borussia Dortmund secured their second consecutive league title in 2012 with a record number of points. And the team added the finishing gloss on a memorable cup final night in Berlin.
“That evening in Berlin was one of the moments in the 103-year history of our club.”
BVB coach Jürgen Klopp
It may not have been evident as BVB players and fans trudged out of the Olympiastadion in Berlin, but defeat in the 2008 cup final would herald a new era in Dortmund. The arrival of Jürgen Klopp as head coach in the summer saw a complete overhaul of the squad, playing style and philosophy.
Emphasis was placed on young, committed players who gelled perfectly in a system that propagated fresh, modern football played at high intensity. And the refreshing brand of play took first Germany, then the continent by storm as BVB earned the moniker “Europe’s hottest club.”
In Klopp’s first season, Dortmund only narrowly missed out on UEFA Cup qualification. A year later, they put that right, finishing fifth in the Bundesliga. Then, in 2011, BVB surpassed all expectations to claim their seventh German championship. With an average age of just 23, the team produced some thrilling football that excited pundits and punters alike. On the eve of the season, Borussia set a new record for season-ticket sales – 51,200 – as fans queued up to see the Schwarzgelben in action.
League success was repeated in 2012 as the team once again wrapped up the German title with three games to spare, setting an all-time Bundesliga record of 81 points in the process.
Dortmund’s exploits in the Bundesliga set a new record off the pitch too. The average attendance of 80,552 was the first time in European football history that any club had recorded an average of over 80,000 fans per game over a whole season. But the league wasn’t the only reason to cheer in 2011/12.
The opening rounds of the DFB Pokal saw Borussia ease past Sandhausen and Dynamo Dresden before setting up a tricky last-16 tie at second division leaders Fortuna Düsseldorf. The final match before the winter break was one of the hardest-fought of the season as BVB played for over an hour with ten men. After a real battle, the scoreline remained goalless at the end of extra-time, sending the teams to penalties. Dortmund eventually prevailed 5-4 in a nail-biting shoot out.
The quarter-final draw threw up a trip to fourth-division Holstein Kiel and Dortmund eased their way to the semi-final with a 4-0 win. Another side battling for promotion to the top-flight provided the opposition in the last-four. And the away game at Greuther Fürth would prove just as thrilling as the Düsseldorf match. With the game heading to penalties once again, Ilkay Gündogan scored with the last kick of the match to send Borussia into raptures. Dortmund were back in Berlin and had a shot at revenge.
In a repeat of the 2008 final, Bayern Munich were the opponents once more. Borussia had achieved the league double over their Bavarian rivals, winning home and away on their way to the title. Now, they had the actual Double in their sights.
Berlin’s Olympiastadion was awash with black-and-yellow. BVB fans were in the overwhelming majority and the atmosphere akin to a home match for Dortmund.
And the backing of the “12th man” paid off quickly. Borussia got off to the perfect start, with Shinji Kagawa opening the scoring after just 3 minutes. Although Bayern managed an equalizer, goals from Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski put Dortmund 3-1 up at half-time.
When Lewandowski added a fourth in the second half, Schwarzgelben everywhere were hugging each other in ecstasy. It mattered not that Bayern pulled another goal back. As ever, Dortmund simply came back once more. Lewandowksi completed his hat-trick to make it 5-2 and seal an historic victory and the double.
Five goals in a final against Bayern Munich! And it was Dortmund’s fifth consecutive victory against the Bavarians.
The jubilation knew no limits as players and fans partied into the night and turned Berlin into Dortmund for a day. BVB captain Sebastian Kehl summed up what the match and the final truly means:
“It’s such an amazing feeling to lift the trophy and it was made even more special by the fact we won the double. The final in Berlin is the most extraordinary match in German football.”
Did you know?
Shinji Kagawa’s goal in the 3rd minute was the quickest ever scored in a DFB Pokal final.