It'll be gloves off when Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund get the 108th Bundesliga Klassiker under way. - © IMAGO/Kirchner/Marco Steinbrenne/IMAGO/Kirchner-Media
It'll be gloves off when Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund get the 108th Bundesliga Klassiker under way. - © IMAGO/Kirchner/Marco Steinbrenne/IMAGO/Kirchner-Media

5 reasons to watch Der Klassiker between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund


It's Bayern Munich. Against Borussia Dortmund. In Der Klassiker. As if that were not reason enough to tune in on Matchday 26, allow to hammer home just why you should...

1) Top-quality football

It’s why we watch football in the first place, isn’t it? To marvel at the best of the best doing what they do best.

And Bayern and Dortmund have been Germany’s leading duo for the last decade, if not more. They again occupy the top two positions in the table right now and, over the course of the past few years, the cream has invariably risen to the top.

Dortmund underperformed by their own high standards last season, even if they did finish as runners-up, but under head coach Edin Terzic this term they are motoring and took top spot from Bayern going into the international break that precedes Matchday 26's critical Klassiker. It's quite the turnaround for Dortmund, who remain unbeaten in the league in 2023 (P10, W9, D1) and warmed up for their meeting with Bayern by destroying Cologne 6-1 last time out.

Watch: Der Klassiker - time to get real 

Key to their success this season has been a new steeliness often lacking previously, aided by the summer arrivals of some serious no-nonsense players in Salih Özcan, Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck and coupled with the firm but approachable Terzic in charge. “We see every day how well Edin works with the players, both in sporting and emotional terms,” said sporting director Sebastian Kehl. “He’s an incredibly meticulous worker who addresses problems in an open an honest way.”

In the opposite dugout, intrigue beckons following the appointment of former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel as Julian Nagelsmann's replacement. Widely regarded as one of the finest tactical masterminds in the game, Tuchel underlined that reputation by leading Chelsea to UEFA Champions League glory in 2021.

He takes over the reins of a squad that brushed aside Paris Saint-Germain to reach the last eight of the UEFA Champions League. Over two legs, the German record champions scored three times without conceding against a PSG outfit boasting Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in its ranks.

Watch: Yann Sommer looks ahead to the Klassiker

Bayern have been far from perfect this season, though, as highlighted by Leverkusen's come-from-behind victory on MD25 and the fact their invincibility cloak appears to have slipped makes this game even more watchable.

2) Star allure

There will be no shortage of household names on display at the Allianz Arena - of the Germany's standout stadiums and home of the country's own Hollywood outfit.

In the same way that movie-goers flock to theatres to see their favourite Hollywood actors on the big screen, so too in football. And there will be nothing but A-listers strutting their stuff in Der Klassiker.

“Fans come to the stadiums to see such unique players,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said of Mane when the signing was announced in the summer. He could easily have been talking about any member of the two squads. There's Sadio Mane, Thomas Müller, Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane who make up Bayern's front-line alone, then there's the likes of Alphonso Davies, Matthijs de Ligt, Joshua KimmichJude Bellingham, Mats Hummels, Marco Reus… and the list goes on.

Watch: All of Marco Reus' 150 Bundesliga goals

3) The promise of youth

In addition to witnessing established stars at the top of their game, the Bundesliga is also the place to be if you want to see the world’s brightest young talents forge their paths.

And while you could be forgiven for thinking that is mainly the case at smaller clubs where there is perhaps less pressure to deliver every week, Dortmund and Bayern are not shy about blooding fresh-faced greenhorns either.

Bellingham - who captained Dortmund for the first time on Matchday 8 and has gone on to a number of times this season - Musiala, Karim Adeyemi and Ryan Gravenberch were all in the running for this year’s Kopa Trophy, a prize presented to the best player over the past year under the age of 21 as part of the famous Ballon d'Or celebrations. Musiala eventually placed third, a year on from Bellingham coming in as runner-up, although he is a major Klassiker doubt.

The same quartet were also in contention for the prestigious Golden Boy gong, awarded by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in recognition of Europe’s best U21 player. Gio Reyna was also on the list, as was Mathys Tel, the 17-year-old Bayern forward who recently became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer.

BVB will have to make do without Youssoufa Moukoko this time around, though - a young man who has broken all manner of appearance and goalscoring records since making his top-flight debut the day after turning 16.

Der Klassiker offers a chance to see if these youngsters have what it takes to shine at the very top: who will sink and who will swim?

4) Goals by the bucket

After the drama of the 2-2 draw earlier this season, a whopping 346 goals have been scored in this fixture, ahead of what will be the 108th Bundesliga Klassiker: 131 for Dortmund and 215 for Bayern. That equates to an average of 3.23 goals per game.

There have only ever been five goalless draws when these teams have met in a top-flight encounter, and only two of those since the turn of the century. In short, then, goals are all but guaranteed!

5) Title race implications

It’s not all about the entertainment, though: there are some serious, potentially title-deciding points at stake too.

Dortmund's turnaround since the start of the year has moved them from sixth to first as they've not only eaten up the nine-point lead of their storied foes, but they now have a one-point buffer of their own at the summit.

If Dortmund win, on Bayern soil no less, it would give them a four-point jump on their hosts and put them in prime position to end the record champions' 10-year grip on the Meisterschale. Should Bayern triumph, though, Terzic’s men will be forced into playing a game of catch-up once more.