In the realms of of FC’s with big names Borussia Verein für Leibesübungen 1900 e. V. Mönchengladbach takes some beating.
Commonly known as Borussia Mönchengladbach or just Gladbach the club from North Rhine-Westphalia Mönchengladbach were founded in 1900. The name Borussia (like at Dortmund) was chosen because Mönchengladbach was located in the western provinces of Germany of what was Prussia.
This was an area awarded to the Kingdom of Prussia out of the 1815 Congress of Vienna (Wiener Kongress) a series of international diplomatic meetings held to agree upon a new layout of European states post Napoleon.
Borussia MG’s most successful era was the 1970’s, where they captured five Bundesliga titles. On top of that Borussia reached five European finals winning the UEFA Cup twice. Success on the field came thanks to a range of famous names – Vogts, Herbert Wimmer, Simonsen, Bonhoff, Jupp Heynckes and Günter Netzer being some of the most famous.
That they achieved so much was a miracle given they hailed from what was little more than a textile town in a state – North Rhine-Westphalia – which features a number of German footballing heavyweights. Amongst these are teams from Cologne (1.FC Koln), Dusseldorf (Fortuna) Dortmund (Borussia) and Essen (Rot Weiss).
From the Bökelberg to Borussia-Park
The home of the club in its heyday was the Bökelberg stadium.
Its most infamous game was the ‘Büchsenwurfspiel’ a European cup match that Borussia won 7-1 but then lost after it was replayed in Berlin thanks to an infamous throwing instance.
Set in an opulent district on Bökelstraße – some 6.5km from the current home of Borussia Park – this is now a historic site. Parts of the stadium; specifically the ‘Nordkurve’ survive in shape if not in part beautifully maintained in a garden type setting adjacent to new homes.
The sight and most famous sounds of the Bökelberg Stadium came from the Nordkurve. This was a unique stadium in West Germany given there was no running track and only steep terracing that bordered the field.
But this is a German city that bares little resemblance to the humble textile town it was in the 1960’s.
The successful diversification of industry sectors has meant this is a city that is now a well regarded modern business location with a population nearing 250,000.
When Germany won the right to host the 2006 World Cup tournament in July 2000 it was a watershed moment in German football stadia development. Some distance behind England in terms of fan infrastructure and with many stadiums crumbling, Germany over the next 6 years built a range of stadiums fit for one of Europe’s biggest leagues and a global tournament.
However, despite its rich footballing history the city of Monchengladbach missed out on holding matches during the 2006 World Cup. Preference was given to Cologne the state’s largest city.
Construction of the new stadium had began in November 2002 and finished in 2004 some two years before the world cup.
Total costs of construction amounted to an estimated €86.9 million.
Borussia-Park has a capacity of 59,771. When the standing areas of the North Stand are converted into seats for international matches, the capacity is reduced to 46,287 seats.
A modern spacious arena benefitting of a modern European city, Borussia Park was again not selected as a venue in light of Germany’s hosting of the UEFA flagship event EURO 2024. Instead Fortuna Düsseldorf’s Merkur Spiel arena will be a host for Euro 2024 as will that stadium of 1.FC Koln.
Capacity (Bundesliga): 54,022 spectators
Capacity (Internationals): 46,279 spectators
Borussia Park, Hennes Weisweiler Allee 1, 41179 Mönchengladbach, Germany
Opened: 30th July 2004