bundesliga

A Klassiker decade: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund's 2010-2020 rivalry revisited

It's the end of a decade which, in the world of the Bundesliga, has been totally dominated by two clubs.

Between them, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have won every league title up for grabs since 2010.

One of the fiercest rivalries in German football has intensified over the past ten years, becoming Der Klassiker between two of the country's dominant forces. Much of the credit for the newfound status of the league's headline fixture goes to Jürgen Klopp, who released the proverbial BVB cat among the Bayern pigeons at the turn of the decade.

Watch: Jürgen Klopp, made in the Bundesliga

Klopp introduced a certain Robert Lewandowski to the Bundesliga, with Shinji Kagawa and Lukasz Piszczek other key signings in the summer of 2010. A 2-0 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen on the opening day of the season did not set a tone, as seven straight wins followed – including a 2-0 triumph over Bayern – to take BVB to the summit.

A 3-1 win over Louis van Gaal's Bayern in Munich in February 2011 paved the way for Dortmund to win their first title in nine seasons, and rattle the Bavarians to the core. It was perhaps the pivotal moment in the history of a fixture which has since taken on an additional dimension.

Fast-forward just one year and another Klassiker meeting determined the destiny of the Bundesliga title. Lewandowski was on target – as he has been 23 times in the Klassiker, five against Bayern and 18 against Dortmund – in an April 11, Matchday 30 fixture. Arjen Robben tried to salvage a draw with a late penalty for Bayern, but the Signal Iduna Park roared – and Neven Subotic got in his face – after the Dutchman's effort from ten yards was smothered by Roman Weidenfeller. Cue Dortmund lifting the title for a second straight season, and Lewandowski picking up his first Torjägerkanone.

A thumping 5-2 win in the DFB Cup final followed as Dortmund completed a league and cup double, elevating Klopp to hero status and really stinging Bayern so hard that it would subsequently come back to haunt them.

Shinji Kagawa, Mario Götze, Nuri Sahin, Felipe Santana and Lewandowski (l-r.) were to Jürgen Klopp's success in the Dortmund hot seat. - Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

Just a year later, and over the following seven seasons, Robben ensured he would not be remembered only for that missed penalty. Europe and the world got to know more about what Der Klassiker means when the two rivals met again in the final of the UEFA Champions League in London's Wembley Stadium in 2013.

Bayern, now under the guidance of Jupp Heynckes, had already wrestled back the Bundesliga title, and the stage was set for Robben to take the sweetest of revenges with the winning goal as the Bavarians stamped their authority on their nemesis, and the entire continent. The DFB Cup followed as Bayern became the first and only club to win a treble, with Heynckes duly revered.

Jupp Heynckes oversaw Bayern's unprecendented 2013 treble win. - 2013 Getty Images

He had already coached Bayern between 1987 and 1991, winning his first two of four Bundesliga titles, and again briefly in 2009 as a replacement for Jürgen Klinsmann. Bringing him back in 2011 proved to be a masterstroke by the Bayern hierarchy, as they enjoyed unprecedented success during his two-year guidance, and set a tone for things to come.

Six more Bundesliga titles have since followed, with Heynckes handing over to Pep Guardiola in 2013. The Catalan was given a crash course on the Klassiker by losing his first official fixture on the Bayern bench, a 4-2 DFL Supercup humbling in Dortmund. His return to the Signal Iduna Park in the league brought a 3-0 win, but his side – already crowned as champions with seven games of the season still to go – succumbed by the same scoreline in his first home Klassiker. He did not lose another league meeting with Dortmund on his way to three straight Bundesliga titles, and a crowning 4-3 penalty-shootout win in the 2016 DFB Cup final.

Watch: The recent history of the Klassiker

Carlo Ancelotti, Heynckes once again and Niko Kovac all delivered further titles in an ongoing period of Bayern dominance. Since Klopp moved on to lead Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2019, Thomas Tuchel, Peter Bosz and Peter Stöger have all tried and failed to hold a candle to their rivals from the south.

Lucien Favre is doing his utmost to knock Bayern off their pedestal, winning the Supercup with a 2-0 win over Bayern back in August. But the most recent Klassiker meeting – a 4-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena – suggests there is still plenty of ground to make good before the Westphalians can once again gain the upper hand in the mother of all German football rivalries.