FC Bayern München against Borussia Dortmund has been the main fixture in the Bundesliga calendar for some time, and there isn’t much to rival it these days. The rivalry between these German giants guarantees intense battles, fierce competition and the best football the Bundesliga has to offer. How can a game that isn’t a local derby be the biggest of them all in Germany? Why is Bayern vs Borussia Dortmund called ‘Der Klassiker’?
Read on to understand more about the Bayern Dortmund rivalry, how it all started, and some of the key events along the way that transformed and made it what we love to watch nowadays. This is one of the many blogs that our writers have put together on our LV BET Sports Blog, covering the biggest rivalries in world football, giving great insights and, most of all, giving value to you, the reader.
Two of the biggest clubs in Bundesliga history; between them, they have won 32 Bundesliga titles, and are the only two teams to have faced each other in the Champions League final in 2013, played in Wembley. Although Bayern Munich has won most of the head-to-head encounters against Borussia Dortmund, it’s been far from one-way traffic, and these clashes are always heated affairs with plenty of goals and yellow cards to show for it.
FC Bayern München joined the Bundesliga in the 1965/66 season, three years after the initial start date in 1962, which is the date when Borussia Dortmund entered the German Bundesliga. In the first full season, Dortmund finished second, and Bayern finished third, setting the course for a rivalry that would extend till this day. Dortmund won the first-ever Der Klassiker in October 1965 when Reinhold Wosab was on hand with a double to secure a 2-0 win for his side.
In the year 1971-72, Borussia Dortmund suffered relegation to Bundesliga 2, and during the course of that season, they suffered the heaviest defeat at the hands of Bayern in an 11-1 thrashing, which is still Bayern Munich’s record in a Bundesliga match.
The statistics are heavily in favour of Bayern in Bundesliga fixtures between the two teams; Bayern won 52 times whilst Dortmund won 25, with 30 games ending up in a draw.
Identity is one of the biggest differences between these two iconic clubs, and this is the major factor where fans are involved. It all comes down to identity and success, both teams are the most successful in the country, but they cannot be any more different. Apart from a clash of titans, it’s a clash of mentality as well.
First, let’s take a look at FC Bayern München. Historically, we’re talking about the most successful club, with the most cups, most Championships and most Champions Leagues, but that was not always the case. Bayern FC wasn’t automatically considered as a participant when the league was founded, owing to the fact that it wasn’t large enough of a club — strange right? A club attracts fans though success, and FC Bayern definitely has fans; it has amassed around 284,000 worldwide followers, making it one of the biggest following in the world. Some might accuse those fans to be glory hunters, due to the level of success that their club has enjoyed over the years. Their slogan is “Mia San Mia”, which is the Bavarian dialect for ‘We are who we are’, representing the identity of being Bavarian, being proud of it and not caring what others think. The slogan also describes the club’s spirit, its belief in its own strength even when things aren’t smooth sailing, never giving up, and going for that late equaliser or winning goal til the very end.
Lately, if someone had to snatch a title from FC Bayern, it would have to be Dortmund. Borussia Dortmund is different, and it has always been considered the ‘people’s club’ due to its humble beginning and traditions. The Yellow and Black giants were the founding fathers of the League, and in 1966 Dortmund became the first German club to win the European Cup Winners Cup. After the success in the early stages, Dortmund had financial troubles, but its fans stayed loyal throughout the process, and from this process, its motto came to life – “Echte Liebe”. That is what it’s all about for thousands of adoring fans that fill up the Signal Iduna Park on a weekly basis, sticking with their team no matter what, through thick and thin.
The ’90s were the golden era for Borussia Dortmund. In 1995 the club celebrated the first of five titles, but the biggest success arrived in 1997 when it won the Champions League, and by the turn of the century, Dortmund became the first German side to be listed in the German stock market.
With great success, Dortmund managed to recruit some star players that the club hoped to propel their chances against Bayern. Tomas Rosicky, Jan Koller and many others, but the biggest recruit was Jurgen Klopp, in 2008, who revolutionised how the German team played. During his tenure as a head coch, the club managed to secure back-to-back titles and he also pushed his team to a Champions League final.
This rise of Dortmund added spice to the already steaming hot pot, as now Bayern Munich felt threatened by Dortmund. Since then, Bayern Munich has made a habit of poaching talented young players from Dortmund, such as Robert Lewandowski — who won multiple Bundesliga top scorers awards — Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze and many others.
This season, it looks like both clubs are on an equal footing as their first Der Klassiker game ended Dortmund 2 – 2 Bayern. Bayern Munich started better, scoring first through a Leon Goretzka strike from outside the box that found the bottom left corner. Shortly after, Malen missed a chance to get the home side on level terms once again. In the second half, Musiala scored the second through a thunderbolt of a strike which Alexander Meyer could not keep out, and the BVB crowd were stunned. Youssoufa Moukoko cut the deficit in the 74th minute to become the youngest scorer in the history of the Der Klassiker at 17 years old after Jude Bellingham found him near the penalty spot. Later on in the match, Bayern ended the game with ten men as Kingsley Coman was shown the red card in the 90th minute after picking up a second yellow card. In stoppage time, it was time for Anthony Modeste to step up to the plate as he equalised through a second post header against rivals and saved his side from the brink of another defeat.
What is so impressive about the result for the Borussia Dortmund players is that a young and inexperienced squad, with the exception of Mats Hummels, was able to earn a draw against a team that normally gets the better of it. Bayern Munich had high-profile players such as Leroy Sané and Sadio Mané, but it still could not overpower Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park.
A new side might be in contention for the title this season as Union Berlin stand top of the league and in the early contest between Bayern ended up in a draw, both goals coming in the early stages of the game. Union Berlin, on the other hand, secured a comfortable 2-0 victory against Dortmund, and the early howler from the goalkeeper set the tone for the match.
Looking back at Bayern Munich’s results this season, it seems that the Bavarian side is not converting enough wins from a draw, which is troubling, seeing as the emerging Union Berlin side could trouble its reign at the top. We are sure that this time around, we are going to have an interesting result at the Bundesliga table at the end of the season.
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing