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Official Review by Andrew Kulyk, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
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.
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There is a pretty good food selection both inside and outside the stadium. The local brew, Brinkhoff's is readily available on tap in and around the stadium perimeter, and grilled bratwursts and bockwursts are also sold out on the street. Inside, there are specialty stands offering seafood sandwiches, various brats, frickadelles (which is a type of juicy burger), pizza, schnitzel, pulled pork and one can buy assorted candies by the kilo. Portable vending carts also offer various beer selections and ice cream.
Oh what can one say about the intense and passionate fan base here in Dortmund? 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 fever pitch.
Signal Iduna Park is nestled in a bucolic park with tree lined paths and picnic areas. It is adjacent to a sport and concert hall named Westfalenhalle and to an adjacent convention/exhibition space. About a mile away, across a pedestrian overpass to the north, one can meander into a pretty cool residential/commercial neighborhood called the Kreuzviertel, which is loaded with corner pubs, eateries and beer gardens along the street, making for a great pregame and postgame destination. A lot of fans congregate in the Center City before taking the streetcar or subway into the stadium grounds.
Despite having the most seats to fill anywhere in the Bundesliga, a Borussia Dortmund ticket is one of the hardest to get, as season ticket subscriptions pretty much dominate sales here. The team has had four Bundesliga championships in the past two decades (1995, 1996, 2002 and 2011), and consistently rank near the top of the league standings. They are the toast of the Dortmund region and fans respond in kind with huge support.
There are over 10,000 parking spaces available around the stadium and the nearby Westfalenhalle, and for 5"'¬ to boot. Many fans use public transportation. There is a free shuttle service running from the Megastore (Dortmund/Horde) or from the University. Train service runs from Dortmund Hbf to the Signal Iduna Park station, one stop away. There is also U-bahn service, exit at the Westfalenhalle/Stadion stop. Oh, by the way, anyone bearing a game ticket gets FREE public transportation ride to and from the stadium on game days.
Ticket prices run from "'¬28-"'¬67 for grandstand seating, while standing room tickets in the south grandstand will cost "'¬10 for youth and "'¬14 for adult admission. Concession prices are pretty reasonable as well, a draft beer running "'¬3,50. We mentioned the reasonable parking fee.
During the most recent renovation, the team added a team museum called the "Borusseum", located on the club level in the northeast corner of the stadium.
If you want to get people jacked up around here, just mention "Schalke" and it works like a charm. Schalke 04 is Borussia Dortmund's main and bitter rival, located just 20 miles away in nearby Gelsenkirchen. For the most part, Dortmund pretty much owns Schalke, yet that doesn't stop their blue and white face painted fans from coming into town and stirring things up. Look for an especially intense fan experience when these two teams collide.
**Special Correspondent Andrew Kulyk is a stadium travel expert from Ultimate Sports Road Trip.
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Menglinghauser Str. 20
Dortmund, Germany 44227
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