With Der Klassiker fast approaching, as the final international break of the season draws to a close, it is time to reminisce on the history of this rivalry. Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have been consistently the most dominant sides in Germany within the last 30 years. During this time frame, Dortmund have cemented themselves as challengers to Bayern’s seemingly never-ending dominance.
However, on a few occasions, the Black and Yellows have proved to be Bayern’s betters. A rivalry manufactured by the media in the 1990s but driven by success on the pitch ever since, what are the top five best Klassiker matches?
5 | Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Bayern Munich – UEFA Champions League Quarter-final second leg, 1997/98
The 1997/98 season highlighted a difficult five years for the Rekordmeister. In 1995 and 1996 Borussia Dortmund would win back-to-back Bundesliga titles to dethrone Bayern at the top of German football. A Meisterschale for Bayern in 1997 was not enough to rewrite their wrongs, however, as that same season Dortmund would be crowned champions of Europe. They would even see off Juventus 3-1 in Bayern’s backyard – the Olympiastadion – to rub salt into Bayern’s wounds. The 1997/98 campaign was a perfect opportunity for the record champions to earn their crown back in Germany and Europe.
However, as Kaiserslautern would go on to win the Bundesliga with Otto Rehhagel, who had been sacked by Bayern just two years prior. While in Europe Borussia Dortmund stood in their way. A 0-0 draw in Munich meant the return leg had everything on the line. The second leg would be goalless after 90 minutes too – far from a classic – but Stéphane Chapuisat would volley home for Dortmund after 109 minutes to break Bayern hearts. The result shattered Bayern, and while the game itself was not one to remember, the result encapsulated a difficult period for Bayern reinforced by Dortmund.
4 | Bayern Munich 6-2 Borussia Dortmund – MD11, 2000/01
After overcoming Bayer Leverkusen the season before in the title race thanks to their goal difference, Bayern were hoping for a quieter year at the top of the Bundesliga table. However, after 10 matchdays, the record champions were trailing Hertha Berlin in first. A game against Dortmund was not at the top of Ottmar Hitzfeld’s list. The Black and Yellows would take the lead, however, Bayern would hit them for five without a response. It was a dominating Bayern performance at the perfect time in the season, and it could not have come against a better side. The game would finish 6-2 in what was one of the highest scoring Klassikers of all time.
3 | Bayern Munich 5-0 Borussia Dortmund – MD28, 2018/19
In similar fashion to this upcoming Klassiker, Dortmund went into matchday 28 sitting top of the Bundesliga table. With Bayern breathing down their necks it felt like an all or nothing game for both sides. However, more pressure was on the visitors. They had not been able to break Bayern’s unrelenting hold on the Bundesliga since their last Meisterschale in 2012. Furthermore, BVB had a nine point lead ahead of their rivals earlier on in the season, but had managed to lose this margin come matchday 28. A win for Bayern would have mean they would leapfrog Dortmund at the top. By half-time the game was over with Bayern running away having netted four times to shatter Dortmund’s dreams. The 5-0 scoreline cemented who the best team in the country were and Bayern would go on to win the Bundesliga.
2 | Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Bayern Munich – DFB Cup Final, 2011/12
With Der Klassiker truly becoming a fierce rivalry in the early 2010s due to Jürgen Klopp’s breath-taking Dortmund side, this DFB-Pokal final ensured the rivalry was one of, if not the biggest in Europe at the time. Klopp’s men had just recorded a record points tally in the Bundesliga – that would be broken by Bayern a year later – to win back to back Bundesliga titles. With a first ever domestic double on the line, Dortmund were ready to round of a magnificent year. With their Polish trio of Robert Lewandowski, Łukasz Piszczek and Jakub Błaszczykowski on the top of their game, there was nothing Bayern could do. Dortmund would end their season off in style with a 5-2 win in what rounded off a golden period for Die Schwarzgelben.
1 | Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund – UEFA Champions League Final, 2012/13
It may be inevitable for this game to be first, but it is also undeniable. In a period where both sides were at the peak of their powers, one of the greatest German rivalries had to end on Europe’s greatest stage.
After two years of Dortmund dominance, Bayern would rally together to regain their Meisterschale with a 25 point lead at the top of the Bundesliga. However, for Dortmund, they needed to capitalise on one of the greatest sides they had ever assembled. Mario Mandžukić would open the scoring on the hour mark before İlkay Gündoğan levelled for Dortmund. With the game ready for extra time, Arjen Robben found himself through on goal. The Dutchman would tuck the ball past Roman Weidenfeller to amend for his error against Chelsea 12 months prior. Dortmund’s golden period was over, they would not become champions of Europe, but they pushed Bayern all the way. They pushed them so far that Bayern ensured the next decade would be their most dominant era.
GGFN | Will Shopland