YNWA-Blog #13

On the trail of black and yellow heroes

In Dortmund, Joachim Król takes a look back at the history of Borussia in the 1990s – to the time when the song “You’ll never walk alone” came to Dortmund. At the Rote Erde arena, he meets BVB legend Lars Ricken.

On the trail of the song “You’ll never walk alone,” director André Schäfer's team is back filming in the Ruhr area. The venue: The “Rote Erde” arena right next to Germany's largest football stadium, the Signal Iduna Park. We are just outside Dortmund's inner city. “Wir sind alle Dortmunder Jungs” [We're all Dortmund boys] goes the text of Lars Ricken's favorite fan song at Borussia Dortmund. And nobody is more of a Dortmund boy than Lars himself: Born in the city in 1976, he played as a professional for the club for 14 years – from 1993 to 2007 – and has remained faithful to the club ever since. Sometime around the mid-1990s, “You’ll never walk alone” became part of the pre-game ritual for the fans.

The current youth coordinator of BVB walks with Joachim Król across the track towards the pitch where he can regularly be found assessing the young BVB talent as they train. They speak about football, fan culture and Ricken's football career. In May 1997, the youngster with number 18 on his back had scored the winner against Manchester United to put his team into the final of the Champions League. And now, in the final, just eleven seconds after coming on as a substitute, he's running towards the goal on his own, the keeper is way off his line. “Chip it, now”, goes Marcel Reif's famous TV commentary. And Lars Ricken chips it and scores. His goal was subsequently voted “Goal of the Season 1997” and in 2009, it was chosen as the “BVB Goal of the Century.”

After the interview has been wrapped up, they retire to the stadium bar “Strobels” for a beer. They will meet again tomorrow – for some more Dortmund history: In the city's Trinity Church, parish officer Karsten Haug will talk about how it all began at BVB and then Joachim Król will enjoy a curry sausage with another Borussia legend who features in the BVB songs, the “Hero of Berlin”…