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A Black & Yellow legend has spent one final day in "his" stadium, following a 44-year spell as a Borussia Dortmund player and sporting director. Prior to the game against Hertha BSC, the spectators bade Michael Zorc farewell with a huge round of applause.
There were nine departures prior to the last home game today – and Michael Zorc was involved in all of them. Having said goodbye to eight players in his role as sporting director, the Dortmund veteran bade his own farewell to BVB. "What a career, what a life's work. You can't be more of a Borussian! A huge thank-you to our eternal No. 8," stadium announcer Nobby Dickel roared, and the spectators responded with a lengthy round of applause. "We've been through everything together and were always close by each other's side. My hope at this painful point of departure is that one never truly leaves. Thanks from everyone here at the stadium," added Hans-Joachim Watzke, Borussia Dortmund's CEO.
"We're Dortmund lads!" and "We'll always be Borussians!" rang out from the South Stand. "Your dreams became our story. Thanks Michael" was superimposed on the pitchside hoardings as the long-time player and sporting director went over to the South Stand to say goodbye to the fans.
The next goosebumps moment followed moments later. As the two teams came out onto the pitch, the BVB fans commenced with an elaborate choreo in Michael Zorc's honour. While the supporters held up pieces of black and yellow foil that spelled out Zorc's surname, two portraits of the long-term Borussian were displayed in the foreground: one as a player and another as a sporting director. Underneath was a message: "Once a Borussian, always a Borussian".
After the game, Zorc addressed the fans directly once more. "It is a very difficult day, but a very beautiful day at the same time. Thank you for the choreo, it was wonderful, you can't ask for more. I don't know if I deserve it," he said, amid repeated interruptions as the fans chanted. "It feels like a journey back in time today. Forty-seven years ago, I stood where you stand today for the first time. I thank you for your support and can only take a bow before you. Always BVB!"
He then completed a subsequent lap of honour to the song "Niemals geht man so ganz" ("You never truly go"), making a brief stop on the halfway line to salute his family in the West Stand. Finally, one of the greatest Borussians of all time made his way along a guard of honour formed by players and officials.