Patrick D’haene was born in Euskirchen, Germany, in 1964 to a Belgian professional soldier and a mother from Lübeck. Two years later, the family moved to Soest in Germany and subsequently to Bruges in Belgium. While he, too, embarked on a career in the military, Patrick D’haene is a Borussia Dortmund fan above all else. And he has the custom plates to prove it.

How did you become a Borussia Dortmund fan?
The first time I went to a game was when I joined a friend and his father. We were standing on the south terrace. It was a Friday evening game under floodlights on September 17, 1976 with almost 47,000 spectators – a sold-out fixture! Borussia Dortmund had only just been promoted to the first Bundesliga and was playing against Hertha BSC. At half time, we were 1–0 ahead after a goal by Erwin Kostedde. Then came the setback – Hertha equalized in the 81st minute. I recall a lot of people leaving the stadium at that point. But for the first time I also experienced the true Dortmund spirit when the crowd roared, “Go, Dortmund, go!” And what do you know? Three minutes later, Burkhard Segler put it in the back of the net to make it 2–1 for Dortmund. The crowd went wild. Votava, Burgsmüller, Huber, Peter Geyer – they were my heroes in those early days as a fan dressed in black and yellow.

Your car’s license plates read “BVB–09”, Borussia Dortmund’s abbreviated club name and the year it was founded, 1909. How did you end up with that?
When the new EU vehicle registration system was introduced, you could order custom plates in Belgium for 1,000 euros. It’s an insane price, especially when I see people who chose “honey bunny” or such like. But hey, I’d give the shirt off my back for Borussia Dortmund.

Where do you watch Borussia Dortmund games today? At home? And on what TV channel?
I’ve lived in Roeselare, near Bruges in Flanders, since 1999. Making sure I can watch Borussia Dortmund games has meant switching TV providers a couple of times. At the moment, Bundesliga games are broadcast on Eleven Sports and Borussia Dortmund is often featured – partly because they’re one of the top teams, but also because they have three Belgian players under contract. I often watch alone, especially as having someone else watch with me isn’t always a lucky charm … 

What is Borussia Dortmund’s standing in Belgium?
Unlike most other German teams, Borussia Dortmund makes the headlines and newspapers here more often than not. The young stars and the Yellow Wall are well known in this country. It’s not unusual on a Saturday to see a car trailing black and yellow scarves out the window and three or four guys inside on their way to Germany. Here in Belgium, Borussia Dortmund was once described as “Europe’s drama queen.” It was meant as a compliment because the games are without fail totally thrilling (even when they don’t need to be!) and the team never gives up.
Interview: Uwe Schedlbauer 

In this section, our main sponsor Evonik, who supports us at all of our international games, lets soccer fans who feel close to Borussia Dortmund but live nowhere near SIGNAL IDUNA PARK have their say.

The Belgians are justifiably proud of their national football team, which currently tops the FIFA World Ranking. Known as the Red Devils, the team currently includes three players signed to Borussia Dortmund: Axel Witsel, Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Meunier. So it’s no surprise that Borussia Dortmund fans from Evonik’s Antwerp site regularly travel to Dortmund for home games. Just like Borussia Dortmund, the specialty chemicals company’s Antwerp site competes at international level. With its roughly 1,000-strong workforce, it is the largest Evonik location outside Germany. Thanks to its position directly at the port with optimum rail, road and pipeline network connections, the facility boosts the Group’s international business.