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Know Your History: The Descent Into Darkness

Seven good years, seven bad years?

FUSSBALL: 1. BUNDESLIGA 92/93 Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images

Building on a series that started as a fanpost, we present to you the second part of "Know your history". These articles are meant as a small introduction into the clubs long history. This time around we cover the beginning of the Bundesliga and the descent into near irrelevance.

The early years of the Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund was not just a founding member of the Bundesliga in 1963/64 but they also started the first season as the favorites to win it all because of their victory of the "Deutsche Meisterschaft" the year prior. Sadly the boys in yellow fell short of those expectations and managed only to finish fourth in the first ever Bundesliga season.

Views Of Borusseum - Borussia Dortmund's Museum
The original jersey of Lothar Emmerich of 1966 winning the European Cup Winner's Cup
Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

Despite being one of the top teams in Germany, BVB never quite managed to repeat their success from the 50s, at least not in the Bundesliga. The big achievements came in different competitions, namely the German Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup (the predecessor of the UEFA-Cup and Europa League). Dortmund won the German Cup in the 1964/65 season after beating Alemannia Aachen 2:0 in the final. This allowed them to play in the European Cup Winners' Cup the following season which they won!

Borussia Dortmund was the first German team to win a European Cup. With their 2:1 overtime victory over FC Liverpool in the Hampden Park in Glasgow, the 66' heroes cemented their place in the history books of German football and in the hearts of the "Borussen-fans" forever. On that day the black and yellows overcame crushing odds against overwhelming favorites FC Liverpool to bring home the most prestigious cup in the club's history.

Tumultuous times

Sadly the fate of Borussia Dortmund would take a turn for the worse shortly after its biggest triumph. Most of the heroes from 66' either left or retired without being replaced accordingly. After years of success Dortmund found themselves in the relegation zone for the next few seasons until the unthinkable happened. Borussia Dortmund got relegated in the 1971/72 season after an abysmal season that was capped of with a 17th place in the table.

Even though Dortmund started their first season in the second Bundesliga with the goal of immediate promotion, they fell short of that when they finished fourth. However, more concerning than the development on the field was the trend off it. After years of mismanagement and dwindling attendance the club was in serious financial trouble that could only be solved by a plethora of measures taken by a new management. Player salaries got cut, club-sites were sold, some local businesses pitched in and the city of Dortmund helped with keeping the club alive. As a thank you for this generous gesture a logo with the local television tower, flowers and a football were included on the BVB-jersey the following season and while that logo has disappeared the lettering of the word "Dortmund" on the back-side of the jerseys has stayed until this very day.

Furthermore and arguably of greater importance was the opening of the Westfalenstadion. The famous home of the "yellow wall" was originally built for the World Cup in 1974 which was hosted by Germany. The stadium was a godsend for Dortmund because it reinvigorated the entire club and even though they would play for two more seasons in the second division, attendance spiked from an average of 8.900 in 73/74 to 25.400 in 74/75. This trend quelled most of the clubs financial problems and instilled hope among die-hard fans of a bright future.

Fussball: 1. BL 98/99, Borussia Dortmund Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Dortmund finished the 75/76 season as the runner-up in the table which allowed them to play 1.FC Nürnberg for the promotion to the first Bundesliga. In those decisive games Dortmund was able to win both games and get promoted to the Bundesliga. The 75/76 remains until this day, and hopefully forever, the last season that Borussia Dortmund played in the 2.Bundesliga.