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Official Review by Stephan Hoogerwaard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Signal Iduna Park is the largest soccer (football) stadium in Germany, seating 80,645 spectators. The former Westfalen Stadion has been the home of the football club Borussia Dortmund since 1974.
Before that time Borussia Dortmund played their home matches in the Stadion Rote Erde (which means ‘red soil’). This outdated stadium quickly became too small for the growing number of spectators of the club in the 1960’s (fortunately the old stadium is still there and lies next to the east stand of the Signal Iduna Park). Initially there was not enough money for a new stadium, but because the city of Dortmund was designated as one of the host cities for the World Cup 1974, the funding did come around.
The stadium was completed in 1974 and was named Westfalen Stadium (named after the state of North Rhine-Westphalia). On April 2, 1974 the stadium was opened with a friendly match between Borussia Dortmund and their big rivals FC Schalke04. At the time of the opening of the stadium it could hold 54,000 spectators (17,000 seats and 37,000 standing). During the 1974 World Cup the Westfalen Stadion hosted three first round group matches and the second round group match Holland vs. Brazil.
Several years later the north grandstand was converted into an all-seater stand leaving only 42,800 places remaining inside the stadium. In the mid 90’s there was the beginning of several conversions of existing stands, by adding extra tiers to these stands there were more places created. In 1997 the capacity of the Westfalen stadion was 68,800. The most recent renovation began in 2002 when the four corners of the stadium were closed for the approaching World Cup in 2006. At that time the stadium held just over 82,000 fans.
On the 1st of December 2005 the Westfalen Stadium was renamed Signal Iduna Park. The insurance company Signal Iduna connected its name to the stadium in return for providing financial support to Borussia Dortmund.
In 2006 the Signal Iduna Park was one of the playing venues of the World Cup 2006 which was held in Germany. Temporarily renamed and temporarily reduced to an all-seater stadium the capacity was brought back to 67,000 seats. During the tournament the stadium hosted four group matches, one round of 16 match and the semi-final between Germany and Italy.
After some small adjustments during the 2010-2011 season, the current stadium capacity is now 80,645 spectators.
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There is a large variety of bratwurst, hamburgers and pizza slices at one of the many counters inside the stadium, and there is also a large choice of drinks. A cup of 0.3 litre tea or coffee cost € 2.70 and half a litre of still water is sold for € 3.20. All sodas are sold in one size (0.5 litre), for a Fanta or Coca Cola you pay € 3.50. One plus and one minus about the drinks, usually in German stadiums you have to pay a deposit for your cup in which your drink is served. But at this special match there was no deposit needed. Unfortunately there was no beer available inside the ground, we could only buy half a litre of Brinkhoff's light beer for € 3.70. That was really a bummer.
Well, what can I say, the atmosphere during the big match that I attended against Bayern Munich was great. The stadium was packed to the rafters. The Dortmund supporters were very vocal this day. Maybe they were fired up by their early lead as star player Marco Reus scored his first goal already in the 6th minute. Borussia Dortmund was the whole match in the lead and won the Supercup by 4-2.
These fans are clad in their bright yellow colors, BVB09 flags adorn every part of the stadium, and the south stands, which boast the standing room area and the most rabid supporters, fill early. They sing, they chant, they bang their drums. Come early here and join in with the pregame buildup, which has fans singing a number of their home spun fight songs in German, and even an English version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite, "You'll Never Walk Alone". By the time the players take to the pitch, the packed house is literally at a fevered pitch.
The stadium is located 4 kilometres south of the city of Dortmund next to the Westfalenhalle, a large indoor arena and conference centre. Just a couple of hundred metres behind the north stand there is a pedestrian overpass across the motorway E40 which brings you to a good residential area (Kreuzviertel). Here you can find a lot of pubs and good restaurants. We can recommend restaurant Mongos in the Lindemannstrasse, which is less than 10 minutes walking distance from the stadium.
Bayern München brought over 5,500 supporters to this first match of the season. Before the match, both home and away fans mingled and met in the various 'beergartens' around the stadium. Inside the stadium the away fans are housed in the north east corner of the stadium (seated) and on the lower tier of the north stand (standing). The most fanatic home supporters are located in the Süd-tribune (south stand). During the home matches of Borussia Dortmund this stand is called 'Gelbe Wand (which means 'yellow wall').
The Signal Iduna Park is located 4 kilometres from Dortmund's city centre. We arrived by car to the stadium early so we could park at the Wittekindstrasse (following Motorway E40 from the west). From here it is a 10 minute walk towards the stadium. In the suburbs surrounding the stadium there is street parking everywhere. When you decide to travel from the city centre to the stadium, you can go to the Signal Iduna Park by train or by U-Bahn (metro). There is a U-Bahn stop called Westfallenhalle which is closest to the stadium.
We paid € 43 each for our ticket which is quite expensive for 90 minutes of soccer. The tickets for this big fixture varied from € 15.60 for a standing place at the Süd-tribune to € 69 for a seat on the half way line at the west stand. We could also buy business seat tickets, but they were sold at a price of € 350 each, and this was way beyond our budget.
The tickets for the football match can be used as public transport ticket as well, up to three hours before and after the match you can travel for free by tram, bus or metro to the stadium. The Süd-tribune is quite unique. It is the largest standing stand in Europe. It holds a capacity of 25,000 fans. During match days these fans are all dressed in yellow shirts (the club colours of Borussia Dortmund). That is really an impressive sight!
Borussia Dortmund has the largest stadium in Germany and is always sold-out. If you want to experience the true German football culture then the Signal Iduna Park is the place to be, you can find it all here!
Member Review by akulyk
Originally named Westfalen Stadion (and still referred to as such by many fans), Signal Iduna Park is the largest football stadium in Germany and the sixth largest in Europe, boasting a capacity of 80,720. It is the home of the powerhouse Borussia Dortmund team in the German Bundesliga. It was opened in the early 70s, and was renovated and expanded numerous times to bring it to its current configuration. It was also one of the host venues for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Menglinghauser Str. 20
Dortmund, Germany 44227
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