Borussia Dortmund stand as a storied institution within the Bundesliga and European soccer landscape, boasting a rich history of success and achievement. However, when it comes to clinching UEFA’s premier club tournament, their triumphs have been limited.

While Borussia Dortmund have etched their name into soccer lore with numerous domestic league titles and memorable European campaigns, their conquests in the UEFA Champions League have been relatively few. Especially if we compare it with their great rivals, Bayern Munich.

Despite their limited success in the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund‘s legacy as a powerhouse in German soccer remains unblemished. They must be considered one of the greats of the continent.

How many times have Borussia Dortmund won the Champions League?

Borussia Dortmund‘s sole triumph in UEFA’s premier club tournament came in the 1996/1997 season, when they clinched the title by defeating Juventus 3-1. This memorable victory marked a pinnacle in the club’s history, solidifying their status as champions of Europe.

The road to victory

It’s worth recalling that during that era, only 16 teams advanced to the group stage, with 2 proceeding to the quarterfinals. Hence, the round of 16 did not exist then, making qualification for the continental tournament considerably more challenging. In that particular season, Borussia Dortmund finished second in their group with 13 points, tied with Atletico Madrid but with an inferior goal difference.

Lars Ricken of Borussi Dortmund – IMAGO / Sven Simon

Lars Ricken of Borussi Dortmund – IMAGO / Sven Simon

Advancing to the quarterfinals, they convincingly defeated Auxerre with an aggregate score of 4-1. Their semifinal opponents were none other than Manchester United, whom they overcame with 1-0 victories both at home and away. The grand final pitted them against Juventus, one of the powerhouses of the ’90s, whom they defeated 3-1 to secure their first-ever title.

Who were the key players and coach in Borussia Dortmund’s victory?

The two key players in that edition were undoubtedly Lars Ricken and Karl-Heinz Riedle, with each contributing four goals to Dortmund’s championship campaign. Notably, they were the ones who scored all three goals in the final against Juventus, underscoring their crucial roles in securing the title.

Lars Ricken, key play for Dortmund – IMAGO / Buzzi

Lars Ricken, key play for Dortmund – IMAGO / Buzzi

Guiding the German team to this remarkable feat was coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who boasted extensive experience in German and Swiss soccer. He was, in addition to Borussia Dortmund, coach of Bayern Munich on two occasions.

What was the impact of Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League victory?

Undoubtedly, it was a momentous occasion for European soccer, witnessing the rise of a new champion. Borussia Dortmund, a team steeped in history but hitherto unable to make a mark on the international stage, defied the odds to clinch the title that season. Despite not being the favorites, they managed to emerge victorious, leaving an indelible mark on soccer history.

Borussia Dortmund’s 1997 champions – IMAGO / Buzzi

Borussia Dortmund’s 1997 champions – IMAGO / Buzzi

The 1990s were dominated by Serie A teams, who exhibited formidable strength, often producing champions or runners-up. Juventus, in particular, shone brightly with their own brand of brilliance, standing as the defending champions and heavy favorites. However, they were ultimately dethroned in that edition, also being runners-up the following season.