In this part of the world, very few bother about Der Klassiker – the German version of El Clasico. In the mid 90s, the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona took the viewers in the subcontinent by storm and as the time progressed, the Real Madrid and Barcelona clashes overshadowed some of the most epic rivalries in the history of European Club Football.

Der Klassiker is one of those rivalries, which is followed by many in Europe, South America, Africa, and Eastern Asia; but the hype loses its heat due to the El Clasico.

But as a matter of fact, Der Klassiker has an enriched history.

The history

Der Klassiker (The Classic) – also known as the “German Clasico,” is the name given in football to any match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Since the start of Bundesliga’s journey in 1963, Bayern and Dortmund are two of the most successful teams in German football, having won a combined total of 21 of the past 25 Bundesliga titles as of 2019.

The first match between the two clubs was a 2–0 win for Dortmund in Munich on 16 October 1965.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1965-66 CUP WINNERS' CUP CHAMPION Standing: Multhaup (Coach), Schmidt, Assauer, Paul, Emmerich, Sturm and Held. Bended: Libuda, Redder, Tilkowski, Cyliax and Kurrat. Image Courtesy: Pes Miti del Calico
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1965-66 CUP WINNERS’ CUP CHAMPION Standing: Multhaup (Coach), Schmidt, Assauer, Paul, Emmerich, Sturm and Held. Bended: Libuda, Redder, Tilkowski, Cyliax and Kurrat. Image Courtesy: Pes Miti del Calico

On 5 May 1966, Dortmund won the 1965-66 European Cup Winners’ Cup 2–1 against Liverpool in extra-time, becoming the first German club to win a European title.

Bayern won the same competition the following season.

In 1971, Bayern defeated Dortmund 11–1, which remains Bayern’s biggest Bundesliga victory and Dortmund’s second-worst defeat – their worst defeat was a 12–0 thrashing against Borussia Mönchengladbach on April 29, 1978.

On the other hand, the highest-scoring draw in a Bundesliga match between the two teams occurred on May 21, 1983, when Karl-Heinz Rummenigge scored a late equalizer to save Bayern from a defeat against hosts Dortmund, with a final scoreline of 4–4.

The 90s were heated up

The stature of Dortmund grew in the 90s as they challenged the might of Bayern in the seasons of 1994-95 and 1995-96.

Dortmund won on both occasions.

The prestige of Bayern had taken a telling blow.

In 1996, Bayern captain Lothar Matthaus accused Germany teammate Andreas Moller of being a ‘crybaby’, wiping imaginary tears from his face. Moller reacted by slapping Matthaus. At the end of that season, Dortmund won the 1997 UEFA Champions League Final which happened to be played at the Olympiastadion, Bayern’s home ground.

The teams met in the quarter-finals of the next edition of the Champions League, and Dortmund prevailed over two legs thanks to a single goal from Stéphane Chapuisat. That summer, Bayern hired Dortmund’s successful coach Ottmar Hitzfeld to work for them.

Tempers flared twice during Bayern and Dortmund’s second meeting in the 1998–99 Bundesliga, as Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn first attempted a flying kung-fu kick at Chapuisat, and later appeared to bite Heiko Herrlich’s ear.

The 2000s – Bayern Munich dominated more

In the early 2000s both clubs remained successful, as Bayern lost one Champions League final (1999) then won another (2001) in addition to more domestic success, while Dortmund won the 2001–02 Bundesliga and reached the UEFA Cup final the same year.

An angry 2001 league meeting between the pair was notable for 10 yellow cards and three red being shown (a Bundesliga record for indiscipline). However, Dortmund soon fell heavily into debt, and a €2m loan from Bayern in 2004 was a major reason for them being saved from bankruptcy.

April 19, 2008, the two sides clashed in the 2008 DFB-Pokal Final for the first time that took place in Berlin. Luca Toni opened the scoring on 11 minutes, but Mladen Petric drew BVB level in stoppage time, forcing 30 additional minutes. The Italian completed his double in extra time, thus lifting Bayern to cup glory.

The 2010s – Dortmund revival

By 2010, Dortmund started to seek for revival and planned accordingly. The appointment of Jurgen Klopp in May 2008, was a great decision. He started to nurture talents like Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze, Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski

Klopp and his young boys helped the club to win the Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 – the first time any club other than Bayern won back-to-back championships since Dortmund in the mid-1990s.

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Dortmund clinched the 2011–12 league championship in a home match where bananas were tossed at Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Dortmund then claimed the first double of their history by beating Bayern 5–2 in the 2012 DFB-Pokal Final with a Lewandowski hat-trick, which was also their fifth consecutive win over the opponents!

The epic encounter at Wembley

To be honest, Dortmund were the people’s favourite during the all-German Champions League Final clash at Wembley in 2013 – the first time in the history of the competition. It was Der Klassiker at its very best.

Both teams possessed a very strong unit and a mouthwatering clash was on offer. The match certainly lived up to the expectations. Sadly, an 89th minute goal dashed Dortmund’s dreams, but from there Dortmund would only grow as a team and today there are one of the most feared oppositions in Europe alongside Bayern Munich.

2019-20: Robert Lewandowski vs Erling Haaland

This season’s Der Klassiker has garnered enough attention due to the suspension of Leagues like La Liga, English Premier League, and Italian Serie A. Yet again, at the top of the table, these two teams are fighting for the ultimate glory like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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The eyes would be focused more on how two of the most prolific strikers on world football – Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski – fares. Already, Haaland’s goal-scoring abilities have become a fear-factor for the opposition throughout Europe. Whereas, there is nothing to explain about the abilities of the charismatic Lewandowski.

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Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are strong teams and in one aspect Bayern would be attentive, which is, Dortmund’s counter-attacks, which contributed to Haaland’s 30% goals this season. Meanwhile, Dortmund would have to be focused on players like Thomas Muller, Alphonso Davies, and Kingsley Coman – who are dangerous enough to tear down any oppositions even if Lewandowski experiences an off-day.