August Lenz was the first to ever do it: on 28 April 1935, the striker won his first-ever Germany cap in a friendly match against Belgium. By the time the final whistle had gone, he'd managed to score two goals. Many would follow in his footsteps: to date, 54 Borussia Dortmund players have represented Germany at senior level.
Various World and European champions have passed through Borsigplatz. Two of the most memorable anecdotes on the subject can be told by former goalkeepers, Heinrich "Heini" Kwiatkowski and Hans Tilkowski, who both had particularly interesting experiences at the World Cup.
53 years ago, Tilkowski conceded one of the most famous goals in football history. The clock read 101 minutes in the World Cup final between England and West Germany. Geoff Hurst brought the ball down in the German box and unleashed a shot towards Tilkowski's goal. The ball cannoned off the underside of the bar, bounced onto the grass below and back into play. Linesman Tofik Bakhramov signalled to referee Gottfried Dienst to indicate that the entirety of the ball had crossed the goalline, thereby giving England a 3-2 lead in extra time. The linesman seemed steadfast in his resolution, but the decision has nonetheless gone on to become one of the most contentious in football history. Hans Tilkowski has certainly had to answer the question ''Goal or no goal?'' more times than he can remember.
Tilkowski is far from the only BVB goalkeeper to have his name written in the World Cup history books. Heinrich "Heini" Kwiatkowski replaced Toni Turek in the German goal for the side's 1954 World Cup match against Hungary in Basel's St. Jacob Stadium. Kwiatkowski faced an unrelenting bombardment on his goal, with Hungary running out 8-3 winners. It may have seemed like a humiliating defeat, but, given what happened later in the tournament, the match is now viewed as a masterful strategic move by then national team coach Sepp Herberger. When ''Kwiat'' returned from Switzerland a World Cup winner, the Dortmund city baths awarded him a special prize: a voucher for free swimming lessons. As if he hadn't suffered enough during the 8-3 defeat...
Sammer: leader of the Euro 96 winners
Matthias Sammer was a BVB player for 38 of the 51 appearances he made for the German national team. At the 1994 World Cup in the USA, coach Berti Vogts made Sammer his trusted lieutenant out on the pitch. Germany managed to reach the quarter-finals, where they would face Bulgaria in New Jersey's Giants Stadium, but Sammer missed the match due to injury. After suffering a 2-1 defeat, Vogts went as far as to say: ''If we'd had Matthias that wouldn't have happened.'' Two years later, Sammer once more demonstrated his quality and his importance to the national team. The Dresden native put in a series of powerhouse performances as his side were crowned champions of Euro 96 in England. That same year, he was named winner of the Ballon d'Or.
Sammer was one of many Dortmund players who contributed to the successful campaign in England: Andreas Möller scored the decisive spot-kick in the semi-final penalty shoot-out against the hosts, Steffen Freund was a tireless runner in midfield, while Stefan Reuter was an ever-dependable presence on the right-wing. Jürgen Kohler's tournament was over after just nine minutes as he suffered a serious knee injury in the first match against the Czech Republic in Manchester.
Mill and co. win the World Cup without making an appearance
Other Borussia players have suffered the most ignominious of fates at international tournaments - being named in the squad but not playing a single minute. One of them is Wolfgang Paul. After captaining the Black & Yellows to glory in the 1966 European Cup Winners' Cup, Paul was named in the 22-man squad for that year's World Cup. Despite receiving the call-up, Paul never went on to win a cap for his country. Frank Mill made a total of 17 appearances for the German national team, but was merely an observer for the entirety of the successful 1990 World Cup campaign. Lars Ricken suffered a similar fate in 2002, as he watched his teammates end the tournament as runners-up. At Brazil 2014, Kevin Großkreutz, Erik Durm and Roman Weidenfeller were all members of the victorious German squad. However, none of them made a single appearance over the course of the tournament. This wasn't true of Mats Hummels, who played a key role at the heart of the German defence.
Alfred "Aki" Schmidt was also a notable Germany international. Coach Sepp Herberger was a big fan of the skilled technician, giving him his first cap at the age of 21. Schmidt was a fixture in the team that contested the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.
Two further Germany & BVB legends must not go unmentioned: Lothar Emmerich and Sigi Held. Lothar Emmerich, who passed away far too young, was famous both for his wand of a left foot as well as the wonder goal he scored with it at the 1966 World Cup in England: in the match against Spain in Birmingham, he thundered the ball into the back of the net from a seemingly impossible angle, helping his team on their way to the quarter-finals. His right-hand man, Sigi Held, was a regular presence alongside him for both BVB and Germany. Sigi was a man of few words, but at both the 1966 and 1970 World Cups, he let his football do the talking. (br)