As we approach the final matchday of this hugely exciting Bundesliga season, the anticipation that Borussia Dortmund could finally be crowned champions, ending Bayern Munich’s decade-long dominance, is growing. You might keep hearing references to the Borsigplatz in talk of the potential title celebrations- so just why does the club have such an affinity to this corner of the city? Here’s the story…
What does a Imbiss (snack bar) selling French fries and Wurst have to do with Borussia Dortmund? Well, to the unobservant eye, you could easily purchase your ‘Currywurst und Pommes’ from the snack bar ‘Pommes Rot-Weiss’ on the corner of Oesterholzstraße and be none the wiser. But if you spot the plaque attached to one of the outer walls you would read that the building was once the home of the pub ‘Zum Wildschütz’- the location where in 1909 the Borussia Dortmund football club was founded.
If you walk south along Oesterholzstraße you will reach the circular Borsigplatz, this is the spiritual home of Borussia Dortmund and where the hordes of fans always flock to celebrate title and cup wins. But if you were to walk east you would in no time at all reach the Hoesch Park, where those founding fathers of BVB first began to play at their original home called the ‘Weiße Wiese’.
The name of the field allegedly came from the white blossoms that fell from the adjacent poplar trees in spring, which turned the playing field into a ‘white meadow’. BVB’s first competitive match was played here until January 15, 1911 (a 9-3 win over VfB Dortmund) and the players had to change in the pub before walking the ten minutes to the pitch. The wooden goalposts were removed and carried off after each game through fear of them being stolen. .
By 1923 the site had to be fenced off to meet the standards required to join the Bezirksliga and a spectator capacity of some 12,000 was established. However, just fourteen years later, the club were forced to move from their birthplace when in 1937 the National Socialists banned them from the site and handed it over to the Hoesch AG factory, which expanded as a result of state-imposed armament production.
Borussia Dortmund moved south to the Rote Erde Stadion and to where the Westfalen Stadion would ultimately rise. The rest as they say is history, but the Borsigplatz retains a very special place in the clubs annals and is where the passionate BVB fans are spiritually drawn to in times of celebration. The last Bundesliga title party was held back in 2012, but there could soon be a roaring trade going on at the ‘Pommes Rot-Weiss’ snack bar if the Schwarzgelben triumph over Mainz on Saturday. If you want to enjoy a peaceful moment in the sun in Dortmund next Saturday afternoon, best steer well clear of this particular corner of the city.