Legendary Champions League stadium looks unrecognisable in throwback pics as it celebrates 50th anniversary

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FEW stadiums rival Signal Iduna Park for size and atmosphere.

So it’s fitting that Borussia Dortmund‘s spectacular venue has had so many special dates to recall on its 50th anniversary.

This is how the Westfalenstadion looked at its onset

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This is how the Westfalenstadion looked at its onsetCredit: YouTube
The venue looked far more humble half a century ago

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The venue looked far more humble half a century agoCredit: YouTube
these flashback pics show how the ground was built on a tight budget

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these flashback pics show how the ground was built on a tight budgetCredit: YouTube
Now the stadium is one of the greatest in Europe

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Now the stadium is one of the greatest in EuropeCredit: Getty

Now throwback pictures show how the stadium has grown from modest to magnificent in that half-century of fame.

 Apart from emerging as a glorious setting for Champions League matches, the home of the German giants is littered with big dates.

Westfalenstadion – to give it the German name – hosted matches in the 1974 and 2006 World Cups, as well as Liverpool‘s famous 2001 Uefa Cup final triumph.

Yet perhaps the major reason for it being built at all now seems incredible.

Dortmund were the first German team to win a European club title – the 1966 Cup Winners’ Cup.

And the increasing number of fans attracted by such success meant the Stadion Rote Erde – Red Soil Stadium – became too small.

But Dortmund couldn’t afford a suitable new stadium, while federal authorities were unwilling to help out.

However, when the city of Cologne backed out of hosting 1974 World Cup games, cash set aside for project was switched to Dortmund – albeit still with a tight budget.

Jurgen Klopp famously managed at the Westfalenstadion from 2008-2015

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Jurgen Klopp famously managed at the Westfalenstadion from 2008-2015Credit: PA

The club officially moved in on April 2 1974.

And having been relegated two years earlier, they were the only German second tier side to hold World Cup ties, before returning to the Bundesliga in 1976.

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And with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp being Dortmund’s most feted ex-manager, it’s fitting that the Reds took part in arguably Westfalenstadion’s greatest ever club match.

Gerard Houllier’s team beat Alaves 5-4 via an extra-time GOLDEN GOAL in the Uefa Cup final 23 years ago.

The stadium has of course gradually been improved over the decades.

Already Germany’s largest football venue, its league capacity has soared to 81,365.

The Westfalenstadion is also the seventh-biggest ground in Europe.

And just two top-flight sides in the continent can boast a larger stadium – Barcelona and Real madrid.

Unsurprisingly, The Westfalenstadion also holds the record for average attendance over a season – 80,588 during 2011-12.



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Legendary Champions League stadium looks unrecognisable in throwback pics as it celebrates 50th anniversary

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