Football Features

What happened next? The Borussia Dortmund side that lost the 2002 UEFA Cup final to Feyenoord

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:05, 4 October 2021

Borussia Dortmund reached the mountain top in 1997 when they became Champion League winners under Ottmar Hitzfeld’s brilliant leadership.

Since then Die Borussen have been longing to return to that summit and came agonisingly close on several occasions, none more so than in 2013 when Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpressing charges fell short to Bayern Munich in the final at Wembley.

The club nonetheless boasts a rich European tradition having previously won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1966 at Liverpool’s expense. It means they’re one shy of joining an exclusive club featuring the aforementioned Bayern, Manchester United, Juventus, Chelsea and Ajax.

Those five teams all lifted each of Uefa’s three major club competitions (before the Conference League’s existence). Missing from Dortmund’s collection is the Europa League, formerly known as the UEFA Cup. A beaten finalist in 1993 to Juventus (6-1 winners on aggregate), Dortmund’s most recent final appearance came in 2002 when they were Feyenoord’s guests at De Kuip, just five years after winning the Champions League.

An entertaining back-and-forth Rotterdam showpiece event ultimately saw the hosts run out 3-2 victors. Playing for the Dutch giants on that day were the likes of Robin van Persie, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Pierre van Hooijdonk. But what of that BVB team, led by their Champions League-winning captain Matthias Sammer?

Goalkeeper: Jens Lehmann

Career path since: Arsenal, VfB Stuttgart, Arsenal

A future Arsenal teammate of Van Persie’s, the combative German goalkeeper, who often wore his heart on his sleeve, joined Dortmund from AC Milan where he stayed for one season. An eyebrow-raising move — given his strong past with BVB’s rivals Schalke 04 — Lehmann made 129 Bundesliga appearances at the club before joining the Gunners, where he became an ‘Invincible’ in his first season. He left Arsenal in 2008 for Stuttgart, not before setting the Champions League record for most games played by a goalkeeper without conceding (eight) en route to reaching the final in 2006. Lehmann returned to the Emirates Stadium to hang up his gloves in 2011.

Right-back: Evanílson

Career path since: Atlético Mineiro, FC Köln, Atlético Paranaense, Sport Recife, Vitória, América-MG, Timbaúba, Independente Limeira, Botafogo

Before turning out for BVB, whom he joined in 1999, former Brazilian international Evanílson had been on the books of Cruzeiro and América-MG, beginning his career at the latter where he would eventually return. He was instrumental in Dortmund winning the 2002 Bundesliga title and, three years later, began a journeyman career that predominantly saw him move from one Brazilian club to another including, as touched upon, a brief one-year stay at his boyhood club.

Centre-back: Christian Wörns

Career path since: Borussia Dortmund

A member of the Germany squad that finished runners-up at Euro 1992, it felt like déjà vu for Christian Wörns, who collected another silver medal in a Uefa-sanctioned event. The former Paris Saint-Germain man would call Borussia Dortmund his final club having previously turned out for hometown club Waldhof Mannheim and Bayer Leverkusen. Since calling time on a near two-decade career, Wörns has transitioned into coaching. Although he is yet to manage a senior team, Wörnes has presided over several youth sides with 1860 Munich U19s his most recent post.

Centre-back: Jürgen Kohler

Career path since: Borussia Dortmund

The heartbeat of Dortmund’s defence saw red in this game after fouling Jon Dahl Tomasson inside the penalty area. No stranger to big occasions — having been part of Juve’s winning UEFA Cup team in 1993 and Germany’s third World Cup success three years earlier — Wörns was regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation and would end an illustrious playing career soon after this final was finished. He would turn his hand to coaching but has yet to be given a top job with overseeing Germany’s U-21 team between 2002 and 2003 being the most high profile.

Left-back: Dedé

Career path since: Eskişehirspor

A pair of German central defenders sat in between two Brazilian full-backs. Operating on the left flank that May evening was Dedé, who had been part of BVB’s set-up since 1998 when he switched from Atlético Mineiro where he lifted the Copa CONMEBOL the same year Dortmund became European champions. Dedé — who collected his sole international cap in 2004 — remained in North Rhine-Westphalia until leaving for Turkish outfit Eskişehirspor in 2011, retiring in 2014. Dedé was later appointed as the club’s assistant manager under former Borussia boss Michael Skibbe.

Right midfield: Lars Ricken

Career path since: Borussia Dortmund

A one-club man, Lars Ricken made over 400 appearances for Borussia Dortmund before saying goodbye to football. However, he remained part of the future when sporting director Michael Zorc asked him to be a youth coordinator at the club, a role he keeps to this day. Ricken can be proud having seen the likes of Youssoufa Moukoko go from being a prospect to enjoying first-team action.

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Central midfield: Stefan Reuter

Career path since: Borussia Dortmund

Another member of this Dortmund team who previously turned out for Bayern and Juventus. Stefan Reuter joined Dortmund in 1992 after just one season in Turin and would lift the Champions League five years later. A three-time Bundesliga winner, Reuter was unable to influence the game against Feyenoord but nevertheless ended his time in Dortmund as a bona fide club legend. He’s also part of that rare crowd to have lifted a World Cup, European Cup and European Championships.

Central midfield: Tomáš Rosický

Career path since: Arsenal, Sparta Prague

The jewel of Dortmund’s midfield. Tomáš Rosický had plenty of European experience having featured heavily in Uefa’s club competitions with boyhood team Sparta Prague before making that big move to Dortmund in early 2001. His excellence attracted Arsene Wenger’s attention but Rosický’s time at Arsenal was marred by a spate of injuries. The playmaker dubbed “Little Mozart” would ultimately play 170 league matches across 10 seasons (including zero times in 2008/09 and 2015/16) before returning home to Prague in 2016 where he slowly moved into retirement.

Left midfield: Ewerthon

Career path since: Zaragoza, VfB Stuttgart (loan), Espanyol (loan), Palmeiras, Terek Grozny, Al Ahli, América-MG, Atlético Sorocaba

Having signed for a reported €7.5m in September 2001, the Corinthians academy graduate would go on to play over a century of Bundesliga matches for Dortmund before moving onto Spanish outfit Real Zaragoza – though he temporarily returned to German domestic football with Stuttgart. Ewerthon ultimately journeyed back to Brazil where Palmeiras became the first of five clubs the seven-time capped Brazilian international represented between 2010 and 2014.

Centre-forward: Jan Koller

Career path since: Monaco, FC Nürnberg, Krylia Sovetov Samara, Cannes

An intimidating presence up front, Jan Koller was as lethal as they came, very few centre-forwards were as dominating in the air. He scored BVB’s second of the game but couldn’t find the net one more time. After leaving the German powerhouse in 2006, Koller would represent a further four clubs, the most notable being Monaco where he managed 12 goals across 50 league appearances. The all-time top scorer in Czech international history, Koller finished his career having bagged 55 goals across 91 appearances, with his last strike coming at Euro 2008 in a losing effort against Turkey.

Centre-forward: Márcio Amoroso

Career path since: Málaga, São Paulo, AC Milan, Corinthians, Grêmio, Aris Thessaloniki, Guarani, Boca Raton

For a while Márcio Amoroso held the record for most expensive Bundesliga signing when Dortmund acquired his signature from Parma, costing 50m Deutsche Mark (€25m). Amoroso signed off having registered 28 goals in 59 league outings for Dortmund and after exiting he too went on to enjoy a career that saw him bounce from one place to the next. Only at São Paulo — where he netted 12 times in 22 league games — did Amoroso live up to expectations.


Jörg Heinrich

Career path since: FC Köln, Ludwigsfelder FC, Union Berlin

Either side of a spell with Fiorentina (1998 to 2000), journeyman Jörg Heinrich turned out for Borussia Dortmund and the multifunctional footballer came off the bench against Feyenoord albeit to no avail. He would continue a 19-year playing career at the likes of FC Köln and Union Berlin before moving into coaching.

Otto Addo

Career path since: Mainz 05, Hamburger SV

A regular at Dortmund since 1999, the Hamburg-born forward was thrusted on to change Dortmund’s fortunes but he couldn’t find that spark. Much like Heinrich, Addo continued playing after leaving BVB before returning as an assistant coach. He’s since left Rose’s backroom staff but remains at the club as a scout. Addo, who collected no fewer than 15 international caps with Ghana, also serves a role on the Black Stars bench as Milovan Rajevac’s assistant.