Ebi Smolarek: Borussia Dortmund’s derby hero

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“Ebi” Smolarek played for Borussia Dortmund between 2005 and 2007, but his short stint with Die Schwarzgelben left a lasting impression on the team and fans alike.

Over the course of the club’s history, Borussia Dortmund has fielded some of the very biggest names in world football. From the likes of Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho and Mats Hummels in more recent times, to Balon D’Or winners such as Matthias Sammer, who defined an entire period in the club’s history. The club, as a whole, is no stranger to talent.

There are players however, who have immortalized themselves as cult heroes among the Dortmund faithful despite not having reached superstar status around the globe, as their impact on the club’s history has been just as meaningful as that of the superstars that overshadow them with their grandiose legacies. One such name, is Euzebiusz Smolarek.

Smolarek, as a player, is one that always caught my interest in part due to the fact that we share a Polish heritage. Over the years growing up and visiting the birthplace of my parents, much was spoken of Borussia Dortmund.

Multiple members of my family have recounted that they remember everyone at one point in their childhood sporting a Black and Yellow kit, hat or scarf, and it always interested me to understand why. My own story of falling in love with the club lends itself to this cause, for I myself began following the club in the advent of the triumvirate of Lewandowski, Piszczek and Błaszczykowski taking the field together and helping inspire the club to back to back Bundesliga wins.

For another generation of Poles, the link, as I learned, was Ebi Smolarek, and the story of his legacy had to tell is one that I have always been curious to explore in greater detail.

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