Fortuna Dusseldorf is one of the best-supported football clubs in Germany. Fortuna’s rivals include Cologne, with whom they play out what is known as the Rhine derby.
The club has been in the league since back in 1913 and was ever-present in the top flight in the country from the 1920s right up to the formation of what we now know as the Bundesliga in 1963.
Famous for their huge support, Fortuna Dusseldorf has won many admirers around the world but this, unfortunately, is not something that has been backed up on the pitch with precious little in the way of silverware coming their way in the modern game.
Playing in their well-recognised all-red strip, Fortuna has gained promotions back to the Bundesliga having slipped to the second tier in 2012 and again as 2. Bundesliga champions in 2018.
After heartbreakingly finishing 17th in the 2019-2020 season, Fortuna was once again relegated to the second tier of German football.
Fortuna Dusseldorf Timeline
- 1895 – Fortuna Dusseldorf is founded
- 1927 – The first title is achieved – the Bezerksliga
- 1963 – Fortuna misses out on a nomination for the original Bundesliga
- 1966 – Club is promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time, lasting just one season
- 1979 – Fortuna win their first German Cup, repeating the feat a year later
- 2004 – Club moves to its new, purpose-built stadium
2008 – Having slipped down the leagues, Fortuna competes in the newly-formed 3. Liga
Currently, Fortuna Dusseldorf’s home is the Merkur Spielarena, or the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA for marketing reasons.
The stadium was built between 2002 and 2004 at a cost of some €240million, with naming rights awarded from the start. Before its current title, the ground was known as the LTU Arena and later the Esprit Arena.
As is the case with many modern arenas, the Merkur Spielarena is used for more than just football. Utilising its retractable roof, the venue hosts gigs with as many as 66,500 able to attend. For football games, there is an impressive 54,600 capacity with just under 10,000 fans able to utilise ‘safe standing’.
Previously, Fortuna had played their football at the Rheinstadion right near the river. Having decided a new stadium was needed, the two-year building project to erect this area was started in 2002 with an initial capacity of 51,500 achieved upon opening.
The capacity was extended in the summer of 2010 when the safe standing areas replaced seating, further increasing what was already a notable atmosphere created by some of the most passionate football fans anywhere in Germany.
Famous Fortuna Dusseldorf Players
One of the most famous names on Fortuna Dusseldorf’s list of former players is ex-Rangers man Jorg Albertz. The midfielder had two spells at Fortuna from 1990 to 1993 and again from 2005 to 2007. During this time, Albert made 104 league appearances and went on to represent his country.
Among those to have made more than 200 appearances for Fortuna include:
- Gerd Zewe, Egon Kohnen, Josef Weikl, Matthias Mauritz, Rainer Geye, Andreas Lambertz, Heiner Baltes, Woldgang Seel, Rudolf Bommer and Karl Hoffmann.
- Three Fortuna heroes have scored more than 100 goals for the club; Meter Meyer, Hans Muller and the aforementioned Rainer Geye while Karl Gramminger, Franz-Joseph Wolfframm and Klaus Allofs have also been prolific for Fortuna down the years.
Fortuna Dusseldorf was in fact German champions in pre-Bundesliga days, but in more recent times they have been more of a second-tier club. That said, they’ve won titles at various levels, won the cup and done rather well in Europe. Here are there highest achievements to date:
- German Championship (now Bundesliga) Winners x 1 – 1933. The club were also runners-up in the Championship in 1936, never reaching that level again.
- 2. Bundesliga (second tier) Winners x 2 – 1989, 2018
Regionalliga West (second tier, precursor to 2. Bundesliga) Winners x 1 – 1966
- Oberliga Nordrhein (third tier) Winners x 1 – 1994
- DFB-Pokal (German Cup) Winners x 2 – 1979, 1980. Fortuna was also losing finalists in 1937, 1957, 1958, 1962 and 1978.
- Intertoto Cup Winners x 3 – 1967, 1984, 1986
As well as winning the Intertoto Cup, Fortuna reached the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1979 and had lots of success at the regional level in Germany.
The club was successful 16 times in regional leagues and cups between 1926 and 1971.
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