For most countries around the world, football is a religion.
Most fans around the world have a favourite club team, but truth be told, with the ever-increasing inclusivity of diverse cultures and football scaling new heights, fans no longer just support one club.
In recent years, millions across the globe have started warming up to a second favourite team, not necessarily from the country of their first-choice club.
Well, one such club, Borussia Dortmund have seen a steady build of fans supporting them as their second-choice, not only in Germany but across the world. And here’s why:
A stadium like no other
The Westfalenstadion, Dortmund’s home ground is one of the most famous football stadiums in Europe, renowned for its atmosphere. The largest in Germany and the seventh-largest in the world.
Such is the vibe, that on match days when it’s packed to the rafters, it gives the more famous stadiums like Old Trafford, Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabeu a run for their money.
The opportunity to experience the spine chilling match-day atmosphere attracts football fans from around the globe, including British supporters of this beautiful game.
In the year following Dortmund’s 2012-13 UEFA Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich, approximately 1,000 British fans were reported to be attending every home match supporting the club which is an astounding figure.
It is a love affair that continues as seasons have gone by.
Benjamin McFadyean, founder of the Borussia Dortmund London Fan Club, told ESPN.
“We’ve now got over 15,000 followers on our Facebook page. Our page is filled with reviews from people who’ve been out to Germany. Almost all of them say they are longing to go back.”
Heavy metal football
After ex-manager Jurgen Klopp took the reins at Dortmund in 2008, he introduced the heavy metal brand of football, an in your face, aggressive and counter-pressing style to keep the opponents in check. The three pillars on which this brand is built are – rapidity, passion and excitement, according to the German.
Under Klopp’s leadership, Borussia Dortmund accomplished the famed double of the Bundesliga title as well as the 2012 DFB-Pokal in 2011-12.
He also led Dortmund to the all-German 2013 Champions League final, where they unfortunately ended on the losing side against Bayern Munich.
To this day, Dortmund continue to play heavy metal football, and are currently second on the Bundesliga table behind already-champions Bayern.
What’s more, after Klopp left Dortmund in 2015 to join Liverpool, he has indoctrinated this same style at Anfield too.
As a result, this year’s Premier League title has been painted red with Liverpool’s sweat, blood and tears after an astonishing gap of 30 years.
No wonder, for many English supporters, Dortmund is fast climbing their preference chart.
As they say, what makes a football team are their fans.
With Borussia Dortmund, it’s no different, thanks to the famous Yellow Wall.
Well, on every match day, the South terrace in Westfalenstadion, has a sea of about 25,000 supporters dressed in yellow and black, who are die-hard fans of the club and when they cheer, it’s a mesmerising site in world football much like the Kop stand at Anfield.
“Echte Liebe” or “true love” is the slogan on the tongue of every Yellow Wall faithful, akin to ‘You’ll never walk alone’ for every Liverpool fan.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, the former Bayern Munich captain summed up the impact when asked what he was most wary of while facing Dortmund.
“It’s the Yellow Wall I’m most afraid of.”
With the Yellow Wall in full force, the atmosphere in the stadium had been best described by Jurgen Klopp.
“You come out and the place explodes – out of the darkness, into the light. You look to your left and it seems like there are 150,000 people up on the terrace all going completely nuts.”
Mixture of young blood and seasoned talent
Dortmund are renowned as a fertile breeding ground for world-class footballers, and in Lucien Favre, Borussia have a head coach who has forged a reputation for nurturing and developing upcoming stars.
Chief among Dortmund’s enviable pool of young talent are – American midfielder Christian Pulisic, who has now moved to Chelsea, and 20-year-old England international Jadon Sancho, one of the highly-rated youngsters in world football at the moment.
Seasoned veterans, the likes of Marco Reus, Łukasz Piszczek and Matt Hummels add some much-needed depth and experience to the club.
Another striker, Robert Lewandowski, who arguably is one of the best in the world, also played for Dortmund between 2010 to 2014, scoring a massive 103 goals in 187 appearances in all competitions.
The winning culture
When performance is consistent, winning becomes a habit and trophies the reward.
For Dortmund it is no different with a host of honours:
· An enviable eight-time winners of the Bundesliga and runners-up this season.
· Four-time winners of the DFB Pokal
· Six-time winners of the German Supercup
· Champions league winners in 1996-97 and runners up in the 2012-13 season
With such accolades, firepower and a heavy metal football style, it is no surprise that Dortmund are slowly but surely painting the globe yellow.
The only question is, when are you warming up to the team in yellow and black?