"Believe it - Give it your all!" Is written on a huge banner above the last row in the Düsseldorf football stadium. You can also see fans dressed in red and white and the team standing in a circle on the pitch.

Six football stories from Düsseldorf that show the best of the beautiful game

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Football stories full of tradition, passion and unforgettable moments

Football stories from Düsseldorf means sporting history peppered with a fascinating blend of tradition, passion and unforgettable moments. The closer UEFA EURO 2024 gets, the more memories are awakened and the more anticipation grows. Düsseldorf and its cultural diversity have left their mark on the world of football. And the city, which has already hosted major football events in the past, is once again in the spotlight. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in footballing history and ramp up the excitement for the upcoming festival of European football. There is so much to look forward to in 2024, including the possibility of the German national team playing in the quarter-finals at the Arena Düsseldorf. We will be looking back at occasions such as the opening match of EURO 1988, the legendary appearance of Günther Netzer during the DFB Cup final in 1973 and Fortuna Düsseldorf’s ‘Football for all’ campaign.
We hope you enjoy reading our football stories!

1988 European Championship, the German national team line up on the pitch before kick-off.
EURO 1988 – the German national team.

EURO 1988 – the opening match

Düsseldorf has proudly hosted some of football biggest events. For example, the opening match of UEFA Euro 1988 took place in the old Rheinstadion. The match, between Germany and Italy, ended in a 1:1 draw, with Roberto Mancini opening the scoring for the Azzurri before Andreas Brehme equalised for Germany. But it was ultimately the Netherlands that won the tournament to become European champions. In the semi-finals, they defeated the German team 2:1 in a thrilling match, with legends such as Lothar Matthäus, Jürgen Klinsmann and Rudi Völler appearing for what was then West Germany. The coach at the time was none other than Franz Beckenbauer, who two years later led Germany to victory at the World Cup in Italy. If Germany were to go on and win EURO 2024 it would be a fitting tribute to his recent passing. Depending on the draw and where Germany finish in their group, they could play a EURO 2024 quarter-final in Düsseldorf – a match that surely would join the ranks of Düsseldorf's historic footballing occasions! 

Black-and-white photo of Klaus Allofs jumping for joy after scoring a goal during a match.
Klaus Allofs is now the sporting director at Fortuna Düsseldorf. (Photo: Horst Müller)

A decades-long story of success: Klaus Allofs and Fortuna Düsseldorf

No set of football stories about Düsseldorf would be complete without mention of Klaus Allofs. The striker is closely associated with Fortuna Düsseldorf and its storied past. Indeed, his goalscoring feats for Fortuna and other clubs spanned three decades, beginning in the 1970s. And Allofs has written himself into the history books as the only Fortuna Düsseldorf player to date to be the Bundesliga’s top scorer. He scored 22 goals for the club in 1978/79, the season that Fortuna reached the European Cup Winners’ Cup final and won the DFB Cup. Allofs, not just as a player, but also in his current role as Fortuna Düsseldorf’s sporting director, has shown unwavering commitment and dedication. Hallmarks of both the man and his club. Allofs’ experience and influence will continue to play a crucial role in shaping its future.

View from the side behind the goal of a player shooting during the West Germany versus Yugoslavia game.
1974 World Cup: Germany versus Yugoslavia in Düsseldorf. Gerd Müller gets in ahead of Acimovic. (Photo: Horst Müller)

Football stories galore – 1974 World Cup moments

Düsseldorf hosted several matches during the 1974 World Cup. They included two of West Germany’s group stage matches. Paul Breitner and Gerd Müller scored the goals in the first, a 2:0 victory against Yugoslavia. Four days later, the team faced Sweden – and won 4:2 in an unforgettable match with goals from Wolfgang Overath, Rainer Bonhof, Jürgen Grabowski and Uli Hoeneß. At the end of the tournament, Germany were crowned world champions for a second time. And players such as Gerd Müller, Sepp Maier and Uli Hoeneß continued to influence German football for a long time afterwards. The World Cup matches in Düsseldorf are still a part of German football folklore today. In 2024, the German national team will feature stars such as Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller. They will be looking to leave their mark on the 2024 European Championship ten years after winning the World Cup in 2014. But even if that doesn't happen, the 2006 World Cup in Germany showed that the country can come together for an unforgettable sporting experience even if they don't win the tournament!

Fans hold up their fan scarves bearing the motto ‘Fortuna for all’.
Fortuna Düsseldorf initiative ‘Fortuna for all’. (Photo: Moritz Müller)

Through thick and thin: Fortuna Düsseldorf and its fans

Fortuna Düsseldorf is looking to make football in Düsseldorf accessible to more people by offering free admission to a match. The campaign, called ‘Fortuna for all’, demonstrates a deep appreciation and recognition of the loyal support of the club’s supporters. Gestures like this strengthen the sense of community, which is also hugely important for international events such as UEFA EURO 2024. ‘Fortuna for all’ underlines the unity and the strong connection between the club and its fan base. It’s as if the whole city is rooting for the players and the team to be promoted back to the top tier of German football.

Black-and-white photo, legendary player and manager Berti Vogts holds back the no less famous Günther Netzer.
1973: DFB Cup final in Düsseldorf with Herbert Wimmer, Berti Vogts and Günter Netzer (from left to right). (Photo: Horst Müller)

Dramatic scenes at the 1973 DFB Cup final

Five DFB Cup finals have been held in Düsseldorf to date. One particularly memorable occasion was the 1973 final between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Cologne. Günter Netzer, one of the biggest stars of his time, made a legendary appearance in this match. Although he was initially sat on the bench, Netzer forced the manager’s hand and effectively substituted himself onto the pitch, going on to score the decisive goal that led Borussia to victory. This moment will be remembered as one of the most discussed and iconic moments in the history of German football. Günter Netzer’s rebellious attitude, but also his extraordinary footballing talent, was the story of the day. It is regarded as the highlight of Netzer’s career at Borussia Mönchengladbach before he moved to Real Madrid. Games like this one in the heart of Düsseldorf will never be forgotten.

Black-and-white photo: Paul Jane Stadium sign and three people standing in front of it.
Inauguration of the Paul Janes Stadium, Gerda Janes stands in the middle. (Photo: Horst Müller)

Heart and soul of football in Düsseldorf – The Paul Janes Stadium

The Paul Janes Stadium in the Flingern district is a symbol of Düsseldorf’s football heritage. It was named after Paul Janes, the legendary defender who led Fortuna Düsseldorf to the championship title in 1933 and whose 71 appearances for Germany made him the most-capped player of his time – a record that stood for many years. There is no doubting the stadium’s historic importance. Fortuna Düsseldorf played at the Paul Janes Stadium until 1972 before moving to the Rheinstadion. Between 2002 and 2005, the club returned to Flingern while the Düsseldorf Arena was being built on the site of the Rheinstadion. But the pitch at Flinger Broich is more than just a place to play and watch matches. Flingern is where the footballing soul of Düsseldorf can be found. This former working-class district is still home to the kind of down-to-earth German pubs where you see the same fans and faces year in, year out. Some, such as Abseits and Fortuna Eck, have had to close, but from 1:0 to Zum Goldenen Fass and Bar 95, the pub culture around the Paul Janes Stadium is still very much alive and kicking. Bar 95 has a special status not only because it is one of the best-known football bars in the city, but also because it is located inside the stadium grounds. Fortuna Düsseldorf’s second team and youth teams still play their home games at the Paul Janes Stadium, and the club’s performance centre is still at Flinger Broich. If you want to know where the heart of Fortuna Düsseldorf beats, you’ve come to the right place.

Black-and-white photo of the football player Paul Janes.
1957: Fortuna Düsseldorf legend Paul Janes. (Photo: Horst Müller)

Tip: News, information and details of events can be found on our landing page for UEFA EURO 2024.
Düsseldorf’s football stories are a living testimony to the city and its sport. They include legendary matches, outstanding personalities and a unique fan culture. With UEFA EURO 2024 on the horizon, this rich past will be revived as the global football community unites. Düsseldorf, with its inclusive culture and vibrant football scene, will not only be a host venue for the tournament, but also a place where the enthusiasm and passion for the beautiful game will be reflected in every street and corner of the city.

Text: Tim Schoster
Photos: see credit
Main photo: Moritz Müller

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