It was exactly 22:47 on the warm summer night of 14 June 2006, stoppage time of Germany's World Cup group match against Poland. Bernd Schneider played the ball to David Odonkor. The local hero embarked on one of his irrepressible runs down the right wing before sending a cross into the area. All Oliver Neuville had to do was stick his foot out. All of a sudden, a whole stadium held its breath, and then, one second later, erupted in a flood of emotion. The whole country was united in celebration of a thrilling last-minute victory.
''I've experienced a lot in my time, but nothing can compare to the atmosphere here,'' said an emotional Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann on the night of 14 June 2006. There had been much talk before the match of the legendary atmosphere in Dortmund and its capacity to carry a team to victory. Captain Michael Ballack perhaps put it best: ''Something like this could only happen in Dortmund.'' Teammate Philipp Lahm also shared his thoughts: ''Complete madness. Dortmund is amazing.''
The 1-0 win over Poland was the national team's 13th win from 14 matches played on the Strobelallee. Later in the tournament, Germany came agonisingly close to making it 15 matches unbeaten. With 60,000 fans in the stadium, 40 million watching on television nationwide and millions more at public viewings, the host side held on until the 119th minute of their semi-final against Italy. But then, the Azurri struck twice in quick succession to break German hearts and bring an end to the unbeaten run in Dortmund. Nonetheless, the national team still have a considerably better record in Dortmund than they do in any other city: 19 matches played, 16 wins, two draws and one defeat.
16 wins, 2 draws, 1 defeat
The first-ever international held in Dortmund took place on 8 May 1935. The Dortmunder Zeitung newspaper certainly seemed satisfied with the 3-1 victory over Ireland: "Our Rote Erde arena passed the test." However, it took another 32 years for the national team to return to Strobelallee. The date was 8 April 1967, with Germany running out 6-0 winners over Albania in qualification for the Euros. The third-ever international match in Dortmund was held at the newly-built Westfalenstadion on 17 April 1974. 20 years after the "Miracle of Bern", Hungary were defeated once more - this time by five goals to nil.
Manfred Burgsmüller, BVB's legendary goalscorer from the 1970s, made one of his only three appearances for Germany at his home stadium. This fell on 14 November 1977, with Germany drawing 1-1 against Wales - the first time the national team had failed to win a match in Germany.
However, it's the important victories which live longest in the memory. On their way to being crowned World Cup runners-up in 2002, Germany first had to pass through Dortmund. After missing out on direct qualification, the national team were forced to negotiate a play-off tie against Ukraine, with Dortmund named as the venue for the second leg took place in Dortmund. Germany ran out 4-1 winners and were thus able to book their tickets to the far-east. Understandably enough, the DFB decided to host the decisive EURO 2004 qualifying match in Dortmund. Once more, Germany emerged victorious, beating Scotland 2-1. And where did the first home victory against England in over 30 years take place? Dortmund, of course, with Germany winning 1-0 in a 2017 friendly. (br)
Germany's matches in Dortmund
|08.05.35||Friendly||Germany – Ireland||3-1|
|08.04.67||EURO-Qual.||Germany – Albania||6-0|
|17.04.74||Friendly||Germany – Hungary||5-0|
|28.02.76||EURO-Qual.||Germany – Malta||8-0|
|14.12.77||Friendly||Germany – Wales||1-1|
|18.11.81||WC-Qual.||Germany – Albania||8-0|
|14.05.86||Friendly||Germany – Netherlands||3-1|
|04.10.89||WC-Qual.||Germany – Finland||6-1|
|10.09.97||WC-Qual.||Germany – Armenia||4-0|
|08.09.99||EURO-Qual.||Germany – Northern Ireland||4-0|
|14.11.01||WC play-off||Germany – Ukraine||4-1|
|10.09.03||EURO-Qual.||Germany – Scotland||2-1|
|22.03.06||Friendly||Germany – USA||4-1|
|14.06.06||WC-Qual.||Germany – Poland||1-0|
|04.07.06||WC-Qual.||Germany – Italy||0-2 a.e.t.|
|01.10.08||WC-Qual.||Germany – Russia||2-1|
|09.02.11||Friendly||Germany – Italy||1-1|
|07.09.14||EURO-Qual.||Germany – Scotland||2-1|
|22.03.17||Friendly||Germany – England||1-0|