Polonia Dortmund

Robert Lewandowski, Łukasz Piszczek and Jakub Błaszczykowski with the Bundesliga Championship Shield 2012
Robert Lewandowski, Łukasz Piszczek and Jakub Błaszczykowski with the Bundesliga Championship Shield 2012

The 2011/12 season could not have been better for Borussia Dortmund (BVB) because, for the first time in the history of the club, BVB won the cup and league double. The three Polish players Jakub Błaszczykowski, Łukasz Piszczek and Robert Lewandowski played a major role in this success. This explains why some fans refer wryly to Polonia Dortmund when talking about Borussia Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund might indeed have been called Polonia Dortmund! Not much was lacking in 1909, the year in which BVB was set up. The club was an offshoot of the youth club attached to the Holy Trinity parish in the north-east of the city. The relatively new Catholic parish was aimed at improving the integration of immigrant Polish workers into a city where most people were Protestant. Some of the members of the youth club worked in the collieries and steel mills, and they were less interested in the church than in sport: first athletics and gymnastics and then mainly football on the fields around Borsigplatz.

This was a thorn in the eye for the chairman of the youth club, chaplain Hubert Dewald. Not least because these “wild young men“ would go straight to the bar “Zum Wildschutz” after the game, instead of gathering in the parish hall to philosophise about God and the world.

Pleading and reprimands did not help in the slightest. Neither did extra masses during match times. The young people still played football. The upshot was inevitable: on 19th December 1909, whilst chaplain Dewald was raging in front of the closed door to the bar “Zum Wildschutz” the renitent players were setting up their club Borussia Dortmund in a side room within.

According to one anecdote the club’s name has less to do with national pride (Borussia is Latin for Prussia) and more probably refers to the name of the beer served in “Zum Wildschutz”. It came from the nearby Borussia Brewery.

On Sunday 13th May 2012 BVB’s celebratory procession set off precisely from Borsigplatz, the birthplace of football in Dortmund. The championship shield and the DFB cup were also held aloft by the Polish trio – Polonia Dortmund.

Adam Gusowski, december 2013

Media library
  • Polonia Dortmund - Radio play by "COSMO Radio po polsku" in English

    In cooperation with "COSMO Radio po polsku" we present radio plays on selected topics of our portal.