A dashing young man clad in yellow and black halted his incessant scrolling through his Twitter feed when he found out Singapore was on Borussia Dortmund’s Asia Tour schedule. That would be me.
470 kilometres southwest of capital Berlin, in the Ruhr area, lies the 8th largest city in Germany, Dortmund. Home to one of the biggest football clubs in Germany and Europe, Borussia Dortmund is fondly referred to as ‘BVB’. The yellow-blacks play in the German top division (Bundesliga) and have emerged champions eight times, most recently in April 2012.
The last season has been a tough one for the team, having met with a rough start and ending up at the bottom of the league table mid-season. Their unrivalled fighting spirit landed them in 7th position and they qualified for European competitions. BVB gained worldwide recognition when they entered the finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2013, playing against fellow Germans, Bayern Munich. Known for their swift counter-attacks and explosive attacking play, Borussia Dortmund has grown to 13th in the European team rankings. With news of BVB’s plans to visit our island, I felt the need to unite fellow fans and since majority of everyone’s social interaction being online today, a friend and I decided that a twitter account for the local fan base would be apt (@DortmundSG). Leading up to the date of the tour, the account grew steadily from its initial 30 to over 500 followers now.
Dortmund kicked off their tour in Japan, where they played a friendly match against local team, Kawasaki Frontale, winning 6-0. Over a span of 3 days, they held meet-and-greet sessions around Yokohama.
On Wednesday morning, a large group of fans anticipated the arrival of the players at Changi Airport, made possible by the disclosure of information on our Twitter platform. The team kicked off their next leg of tour with an open training session at the Geylang Field followed by a night to unwind at rooftop bar, 1Altitude. My @DortmundSG co-founder and I were some of the 30 lucky winners who won tickets to meet and have drinks with the players. However, due to miscommunication, the players were expecting a private session at the rooftop bar while the disappointed fans were hoping to mingle with the players.
Their time in Singapore was put on hold as they headed across the causeway to Johor Bahru, Malaysia the following day, where they played a friendly match against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) after a meet-and-greet session. The team received a mighty welcome at the JDT stadium, with fans lighting flares in celebration of the opportunity to host the team in their home ground. Dortmund continued their mighty form in Asia with a 6-1 win over the team from Johor.
Upon their return from Malaysia, the last day of their tour consisted of meet-and greet and training sessions and with a final training session on Friday evening, the Dortmund players concluded their stay in Singapore. Once again, our espionage work regarding the return flight details of the team allowed fans to bid goodbye to their German heroes at Changi Airport at midnight.
Not only has this successful Asian Tour by Borussia Dortmund opened its doors to the growing fan base in Asia, it has also allowed fans to meet their favourite superstars including the likes of Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, world cup winner Mats Hummels and Asia’s (particularly Japan’s) fan favourite, Shinji Kagawa.
Their visit to Singapore also paved the way for Dortmund’s connection to the region with the official opening of Dortmund’s regional office in Singapore. With their impressive showing against the Kawasaki and Johor, Dortmund hopes their Asian Tour will give them the much-needed boost before heading into the next season of football, which begins in August 2015.