Kung-fu kicks, biggest Bundesliga wins, UEFA Champions League final drama and Robert Lewandowski: It's always a blockbuster between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker.
bundesliga.com has delved into the past of one of European football's most mouth-watering match-ups, dusting off the history books to bring you 10 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 52 Bundesliga wins to BVB's 25, and Bayern have only lost twice in their 12 most recent league encounters. Goal difference in those Bundesliga games is heavily weighted in favour of the reigning champions, who have netted 213 times to Dortmund's 129.
Watch: Joshua Kimmich's lob at the Signal Iduna Park took Bayern to the verge of the 2019/20 title
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 12 seasons, Bayern (10 times) and Dortmund (twice) have jealously guarded the Bundesliga title for themselves, while they have picked up 22 out of a possible 26 titles between the league and DFB Cup since the start of 2009/10.
3) Lewandowski, a Dortmund hero turned Bayern legend
While the two teams take top billing, another central sub-plot of recent years revolved around Lewandowski. The Polish striker was so often the scourge of Bayern back in his days as a Dortmund player. He hit 103 goals in 187 appearances in black and yellow, including five against Bayern, before stepping over to the red side on a free transfer in summer 2014. It was onwards and upwards in a sea of goals ever since: 344 to be precise in eight blistering years in Munich, of which 27 fell in 26 competitive meetings with his former Dortmund flame. His 32 goals all told in Klassikers make him the top scorer in this fixture.
Watch: All 312 Lewandowski goals in the Bundesliga
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. The April 2001 meeting, however, was undoubtedly the fieriest, with its blur of 10 yellow and three 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) A classic, but don't call it a derby
The Klassiker, Clasico, Classique moniker used to describe a big fixture in a country is now pretty commonplace in the footballing world. Whether you approve of the name or not, it's here to stay - but whatever you do, don't mistakenly call this game as a derby. Just shy of 300 miles separate the Allianz Arena from the Signal Iduna Park. It would take you around six hours to make the journey between the two by land. This fixture isn't about local bragging rights, politics or religion - it's purely about being Germany's top dogs.
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 had a triumphant return to Munich as a double Bundesliga winner and world champion in 2016. He re-joined BVB in summer 2019, having added three more Bundesliga titles and one DFB Cup to his collection whilst in Bavaria.
"I was able to get to know many great people and to experience many wonderful moments," Hummels said of his three-season stint at Bayern. "Anyone who knows me knows that Munich will always be a special place for me. But after the talks with the people in charge in Munich and Dortmund, it soon became clear to me that my footballing home would again be at BVB in the future. Hopefully we can build on the successful years we had before!"
Watch: Did You Know..? Der Klassiker
8) Eleventh Heaven... or Hell
Many of the fans watching around the world - and certainly Youssoufa Moukoko - 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.
Klopp masterminded one of Dortmund's most famous Klassiker triumphs, which 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. 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 (at the time) unprecedented treble masterminded by Jupp Heynckes.
"It was like a fairy tale — winning the final at Wembley and scoring in the last minute," Robben told The New York Times. "It can’t get any better."
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