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


FEW stadiums rival Signal Iduna Park for size and atmosphere.

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

YouTubeThis is how the Westfalenstadion looked at its onset[/caption]

YouTubeThe venue looked far more humble half a century ago[/caption]

YouTubeThese flashback pics show how the ground was built on a tight budget[/caption]

GettyNow the stadium is one of the greatest in Europe[/caption]

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 has been full of historic occasions.

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 the main reason it was even built in the first place 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 that project was switched to Dortmund, albeit still with a tight budget.

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PAJurgen Klopp famously managed at the Westfalenstadion from 2008-2015[/caption]

The club officially moved in on April 2 1974.

But 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.

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.

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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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