Kung-fu kicks, biggest Bundesliga wins, Champions League final drama and James Rodriguez vs. Marco Reus: Matchday 28's blockbuster title-race clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will add another historical chapter to Der Klassiker folklore.
bundesliga.com has delved into the past of one of European football's most mouthwatering match-ups, dusting off the history books to bring you ten facts that will keep your excitement on the boil as we continue the countdown to Der Klassiker.
1) Balance of play
All in all, the Bavarians hold the edge over Dortmund, with 45 Bundesliga wins to BVB's 25, and Bayern have failed to win only three times and lost twice in their nine most recent encounters. Goal difference in those Bundesliga games is heavily weighted in favour of the reigning champions, who have netted 190 times to Dortmund's 122, but the most recent triumph for Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park could see BVB clinch their first Bundesliga season double over Bayern since 2011/12.
Watch: Dortmund edged a five-goal thriller with Bayern on Matchday 11
2) What's mine is yours
After emerging as Bayern's most threatening challengers in the 1990s, Dortmund went through a lull before Jürgen Klopp revived them, pulling them alongside Bayern at the pinnacle of German football. The pair do not like sharing with anyone else either: in the past nine seasons, Bayern (seven times) and Dortmund (twice) have jealously guarded the Bundesliga title for themselves, while they have picked up 15 out of a possible 18 titles between the league and DFB Cup since 2009.
3) James vs. Reus
What happens when an unstoppable force meets another unstoppable force? Fireworks is what. James has spearheaded Bayern's charge back to the league summit in recent weeks, crowning fine run of form with a maiden Bundesliga hat-trick against Mainz on Matchday 26. Can his wand of a left foot inflict similar damage in what is shaping up to be the biggest game of the season? Don't bet against it, but then again, Reus can be equally devastating on the opposite side. The BVB talisman is fit and firing once more and, with 15 league goals to his name already this term, is enjoying the most prolific spell of his career. What will happen when these two superstars meet in Bundesliga action for the first time on 6 April? We can't wait to find out!
Watch: Reus' Klassiker impact earlier this season
4) First date fail for Der Kaiser
The heavyweight duo first went toe-to-toe in the Bundesliga on 16 October 1965 in Munich. The game went Dortmund's way thanks to two goals from Reinhold Wosab while a promising Bayern youngster named Franz Beckenbauer missed a penalty. Wonder what became of him…
5) Would you pass me the soap, Bixente?
With passions Himalayan high, the game has, unsurprisingly, set off its fair share of fireworks. Dortmund's giant Czech striker Jan Koller earned himself a place in kicker magazine's team of the week as a goalkeeper after replacing the red-carded Jens Lehmann — and not conceding a goal — in Bayern's 2-1 Klassiker win of November 2002. Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn's infamous kung-fu kick on Stephane Chapuisat and attempted bite on Heiko Herrlich set the tone for April 1999's tempestuous 2-2 draw, but the April 2001 meeting was undoubtedly the fieriest with its blur of ten yellow cards making it the most ill-disciplined Bundesliga game on record. Bayern were shown eight, and had Bixente Lizarazu and Stefan Effenberg sent off while Dortmund's Evanilson also had an early bath in the 1-1 draw.
Watch: Kahn's walk on the wild side in April 1999
6) Lewy, meet Paco
While the two teams take top billing, another central sub-plot is the duel-at-distance between Robert Lewandowski and the man seen as his long-term Dortmund heir, Paco Alcacer. Lewandowski scored two of his league-high 18 goals so far this term in the reverse fixture and had a couple chalked off, but former Barcelona forward Alcacer won the day with a clinical winner on his Klassiker debut. The former Barcelona striker struck another four times during the first half of the campaign, only to fire blanks in his next seven. He's notched in his last two, though, and is only four behind his Polish counterpart in the scoring charts, albeit with a marginally superior goals-per-minute tally (0.60 compared to 0.80). Lewy has hit five in his last three, meanwhile, and seven in 2019 to consolidate his standing as the Bundesliga's all-time leading foreign scorer on 198 goals in 282 appearances. If LewanGOALski doesn't join club 200 in Freiburg on Matchday 27, what better setting to smash through the barrier than in Der Klassiker...?
7) Single or return?
Money is not the only thing that has made the journey between the two clubs. Mario Götze left Dortmund for Bayern in 2013 only to return in 2016, passing Mats Hummels en route. Unwanted as a youngster at Bayern, Hummels made his name at Dortmund and then a triumphant return to Munich as a double Bundesliga winner and world champion in 2016. Another former BVB-man, Lewandowski, has excelled at Bayern, and notably — along with Götze — found the net in a 5-1 Bayern Klassiker win in October 2015. Hummels too had scored as Dortmund won 3-1 in Munich in February 2011, their first triumph in Bavaria in 20 years and a key victory behind the first of their back-to-back title wins.
8) Eleventh Heaven... or Hell
Many of the fans watching around the world - and certainly Christian Pulisic - were not born for what was a classic Klassiker on 27 November 1971. They will certainly have heard about it though, and Dortmund fans, look away now! Hosts Bayern triumphed 11-1 to record their biggest Bundesliga win, still a club record.
Klopp masterminded one of Dortmund's most famous Klassiker triumphs that the now Liverpool boss classed as "the most exceptional moment in our history." Already Bundesliga champions, Die Schwarzgelben faced Bayern in Berlin in the DFB Cup final. Ninety minutes later, fuelled by a magnificent Lewandowski hat-trick, BVB lifted the trophy, though the emphatic 5-2 scoreline probably stung Bayern even more.
Bayern did take sweet revenge though, and on the biggest stage of all. In the first-ever all-German UEFA Champions League final in 2012/13, Arjen Robben's 89th-minute goal left Bayern on top of Europe for the fifth time thanks to a 2-1 win at Wembley in a season they completed an unprecedented treble masterminded by Jupp Heynckes.