Borussia Dortmund and the DFB-Pokal
Edin Terzic’s Borussia Dortmund kick off their 2023/24 campaign on Saturday away against fifth tier side TSV Schott Mainz in the DFB-Pokal.
One of football’s many beautiful aspects is the chance for smaller teams to face giants of their country in domestic cup competitions.
Eight-time German champions BVB will swap their 81,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park home for the Otto-Schott-Sportzentrum in Mainz, which holds just 1,000 spectators.
TSV Schott Mainz of the Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar will relish the opportunity to take on one of Germany’s biggest clubs on their own patch.
With what should be a special atmosphere, the club will be hoping for a bit of cup magic to go their way.
Dortmund, on the other hand, will see this as the start of their journey.
Last season, the Bundesliga runners-up were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by eventual winners RB Leipzig.
Having now gone two seasons without a trophy, the 1997 European champions will be craving silverware and a winning start here.
Against weaker opposition, Terzic can perhaps try out some of the younger players on the fringes of his squad.
Meanwhile his key men can build their sharpness and form ahead of the opening day of the league season at home against 1. FC Cologne the following weekend.
As anticipation builds for the start of another year of German football, this is a look back at Borussia Dortmund’s five previous Pokal successes.
Final: Borussia Dortmund 4-1 RB Leipzig
Manager: Edin Terzic
Top Scorer: Jadon Sancho (6)
Other Silverware: N/A
‘die Schwarzgelben’ most recently won the DFB-Pokal in 2021.
The club began that season with Lucien Favre in charge on the back of consecutive second place finishes in the Bundesliga.
A 5-0 win in front of 300 people at Duisburg saw the Black and Yellows kick off their campaign in style.
THIS IS BORUSSIA DORTMUND! pic.twitter.com/OGJADlsGlv
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) May 13, 2021
There would be a three month break until the next round of the Pokal, where goals from Mats Hummels and Jadon Sancho took Edin Terzic’s side past Eintracht Braunschweig into the round of 16.
That took place in February in the shape of a very memorable encounter with SC Paderborn.
Sancho scored again to build on Emre Can’s opener, seeing ‘die Borussen’ lead by two with 11 minutes to play.
But Paderborn pulled one back before Prince Osei Owusu equalised at the death in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Thankfully for BVB, Erling Haaland stepped up in extra time to send the club to the quarter-finals.
There Dortmund travelled to Borussia Mönchengladbach where Haaland had a goal ruled out, only for Sancho to save the team in the second half, with his goal proving to be the winner.
In the semi-finals, high-flying Holstein Kiel from the second tier came to the Westfalenstadion but were no match for Terzic’s men.
Goals from Giovanni Reyna (2), Marco Reus, Jude Bellingham and Thorgan Hazard ensured that the club were Berlin-bound.
At the Olympiastadion in the final, ‘die Schwarzgelben’ took on RB Leipzig.
A relatively even match on paper was proven to be far from it on the pitch, as braces for Haaland and Sancho saw the side from North Rhine-Westphalia earn an emphatic 4-1 win, with Dani Olmo’s goal at 3-0 a mere consolation.
Final: Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Manager: Thomas Tuchel
Top Scorer: André Schürrle, Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembélé (2)
Other Silverware: N/A
Thomas Tuchel is widely regarded by Borussia Dortmund fans as the club’s best manager since Jürgen Klopp.
His BVB side was very entertaining to watch, with the German overseeing the emergence of the likes of Ousmane Dembélé and Christian Pulisic.
The current Bayern manager led his Dortmund side to consecutive Pokal finals, the first ending in a penalty shootout defeat to his current employers, but the next a win over Frankfurt, which secured his only major honour as Black and Yellows boss.
Fourth tier side Eintracht Trier were the first victims of Tuchel’s side en route to the final; a brace from Shinji Kagawa and an André Schürrle goal saw ‘die Borussen’ claim a 3-0 win.
The next two rounds saw ‘die Schwarzgelben’ rely on penalty shootouts to defeat two Berlin clubs at home.
Union Berlin, then of the second tier, took the hosts to penalties with a late leveller, before falling to a 3-0 whitewash shootout defeat.
Marco Reus cancelled out Salomon Kalou’s opener for Hertha Berlin, before Kalou missed the deciding penalty in a 3-2 loss for his side.
Sportfreunde Lotte of the third tier were BVB’s next opponents in the quarter-finals, where goals from Pulisic, Schürrle and Marcel Schmelzer booked the visitors a place in the last four.
Dortmund faced none other than ‘der Klassiker’ rivals Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.
Goals from Javi Martinez and Mats Hummels turned things around for the Bavarians after Reus had drawn first blood, only for second half goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dembélé to win it for Tuchel’s men.
After edging that five-goal thriller, the team were greeted by Eintracht Frankfurt at the Olympiastadion, who required penalties to overcome ‘Gladbach in their semi-final tie.
Eventual man of the match Dembélé was on hand to open the scoring for Dortmund and after Ante Rebic had equalised, a second half penalty from Aubameyang ensured that the club would win its first cup in five years.
Final: Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Bayern Munich
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Top Scorer: Robert Lewandowski (7)
Other Silverware: Bundesliga
That previous cup was won by Jürgen Klopp’s iconic Borussia Dortmund side.
‘die Schwarzgelben’ had won their first Bundesliga title in nine years under the German in 2011 and just a year later, the current Liverpool boss led the club to its first ever league-cup double.
A Robert Lewandowski brace either side of a Kagawa goal saw ‘die Borussen’ beat third tier Sandhausen in the first round.
In the second round, goals from Lewandowski and Mario Götze were enough to dispatch of second tier side Dynamo Dresden at Signal Iduna Park.
Ivan Perisic then scored the winning penalty in a shootout win away at Fortuna Düsseldorf after a 0-0 stalemate, before Holstein Kiel were wiped away by Klopp’s fit and firing Black and Yellows in a 4-0 win which also saw Paraguayan frontman Lucas Barrios get in on the act.
The semi-finals saw Dortmund take on another team from the second tier – Greuther Fürth.
Nothing separated the sides after 119 minutes in Franconia, but Ilkay Gundogan’s last gasp strike saw the side from North Rhine-Westphalia book their place in Berlin.
An incredible 28-game unbeaten streak saw BVB pip Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title by eight points.
But the Bavarian giants were out for revenge in the Pokal final.
An Arjen Robben penalty cancelled out Shinji Kagawa’s opener, only for Mats Hummels to restore the champions’ lead from 12 yards.
Franck Ribery scored late on but it wasn’t enough to overturn a Lewandowski hat-trick, sealing a momentous victory for the club.
Final: Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Werder Bremen
Manager: Horst Köppel
Top Scorer: Michael Zorc (4)
Other Silverware: N/A
That sensational ‘Klassiker’ win in Berlin saw Borussia Dortmund win their first cup in 13 years, dating back to 1989.
In that campaign, a memorable run to the final for Horst Köppel’s side saw the club defeat second tier sides Eintracht Braunschweig, Homburg and bitter Revierderby rivals Schalke en route to the quarter-finals.
A side that included the likes of captain Michael Zorc, Michael Rummenigge and Andreas Möller then saw off Karlsruhe and Stuttgart before facing the previous season’s European Cup semi-finalists Werder Bremen in the final.
After 15 minutes Werder took the lead thanks to a goal from Karl-Heinz Riedle, who would go on to play for ‘die Schwarzgelben’ four years later.
But a brace from that season’s top BVB goalscorer Norbert Dickel and further goals from Frank Mill and Michael Lusch saw the club double their DFB-Pokal tally to two.
Final: Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Alemannia Aachen
Manager: Herrmann Eppenhoff
Top Scorer: Lothar Emmerich (4)
Other Silverware: N/A
After winning three first division German championship titles in seven years from 1956 to 1963, Borussia Dortmund secured their first DFB-Pokal trophy in 1965.
Dortmund eliminated Preußen Münster and Tennis Borussia Berlin of the second tier in the first two rounds of the tournament, before knocking out Braunschweig and giants FC Nuremberg to reach the final.
The 1965 final took place in Hannover at the Niedersachsenstadion in West Germany, where BVB ran out 2-0 winners over Alemannia Aachen, thanks to goals from captain Alfred Schmidt and top scorer Lothar Emmerich.
Borussia Dortmund have seen some special DFB-Pokal wins over the years.
For a club of Dortmund’s stature, Edin Terzic will be hoping to increase that tally from five this season (he’s already won one!).
With the season BVB have just had, they will certainly fancy their chances of doing so.
But to start, they’ll need to get past TSV Schott Mainz on Saturday. Will this be the start of a special year at Signal Iduna Park?