Fortuna Düsseldorf is a German football club in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Founded in 1895, Fortuna entered the league in 1913 and was a fixture in the top flight from the early 1920s up to the creation of the Bundesliga in 1963. 2019–20 is their 25th season in the Bundesliga and the second in a row since getting promoted from the 2. Bundesliga in the 2017–18 season.
Fortuna’s fiercest rivalry is with 1. FC Köln, which stems from the geographic proximity of Düsseldorf and Cologne as well as the historic rivalry between the two cities. However, in recent seasons the clubs have rarely played in the same division making head-to-head encounters increasingly rare. The 2013–14 season marked the last time the two clubs met in competitive matches when both played in the Second Division. For the 2018–19 season, Fortuna was promoted to the 1. Bundesliga precisely as 1. FC Köln was demoted from the Bundesliga to the Second Division, again avoiding the “Rheinland Derby”.
Fortuna’s other historic rivals are Rot-Weiss Essen, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and Wuppertaler SV. During the 1970s, all four clubs played in the Bundesliga. Both Essen and Wuppertal have since dropped to lower leagues. Bayer Leverkusen, on the other hand, has emerged as a powerful force in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen’s financial support from the Bayer chemical conglomerate has led to many Düsseldorf fans criticizing the club as “plastic” and inauthentic, without any real tradition. During the seasons when they both played in the Second Division, Fortuna’s matches against MSV Duisburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach were hotly contested and were often referred to as “Lower Rhein Derbys”. Fortuna Düsseldorf and Rot-Weiss Essen have played one another 59 times and many fans still regard this as a heated rivalry, but direct matches have been rare in recent years. Fortuna also has inter-city rivalries with Düsseldorf SC99 and TuRU Düsseldorf, yet these have also lost their intensity. During the post-war years, no other club within the Düsseldorf city limits has ever played in a higher division than Fortuna.