Borussia Dortmund's Paco Alcacer and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (l-r.) have both played the role of Klassiker matchwinner this season. - © Getty
Borussia Dortmund's Paco Alcacer and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (l-r.) have both played the role of Klassiker matchwinner this season. - © Getty

A Tale of Two Klassikers: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund head-to-heads


With Bayern Munich having beaten Borussia Dortmund 5-0 in the second Klassiker of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, we take a look at how the two duels between the clubs played out.

The second of this season's Klassikers has come and gone and Bayern have emphatically defied their critics, beaten their arch-rivals 7-3 on aggregate, and returned to the top of the Bundesliga table.

The last time Germany’s two biggest clubs met, things looked very different, with many questioning whether the Bavarians had lost their touch, along with their title, with only a third of the season played.

Let’s take a look at how this season’s two biggest matches compare to each other, and how they have shaped the 2018/19 Bundesliga title race...

Matchday 11, 10 November 2018 – Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Bayern Munich

The first Klassiker was a frenzied affair at the Signal Iduna Park. Before the match, Dortmund were in first on 24 points, four clear of nearest challengers Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern.

Lucien Favre had made an immediate impact, leading his side to the top of the table unbeaten and scoring 30 goals in the process. The visit of the defending champions was seen as a serious test for Favre’s side and nothing less than a win would suffice in their bid to be considered a serious threat to Bayern’s dominance.

On 26 minutes, the visitors from Munich gave the Black and Yellows a nasty surprise when former Dortmund star Robert Lewandowski headed Bayern into a lead they would carry into half time. After the break, Dortmund captain Marco Reus took it upon himself to turn the match around by winning and then converting a penalty.

Lewandowski would once again bring down the mood by scoring another header just three minutes later. But Dortmund refused to be beaten and Reus once again hauled them level before Paco Alcacer gave them a famous 3-2 victory.

Watch: Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Bayern Munich

The defeat was Bayern’s second of the season and serious questions were being asked of coach Niko Kovac, who had been appointed on the back of a successful, DFB Cup-winning season with Eintracht Frankfurt. Given the high expectations surrounding a club of Bayern’s stature, some questioned if the Croatian would still be in the dugout come Christmas.

Losing the Klassiker left Bayern out of the UEFA Champions League places, seven points adrift of top spot in fifth, and with a mountain to climb if they wanted to have any hope of securing a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title.

Matchday 28, 6 April 2019 – Bayern Munich 5-0 Borussia Dortmund

Fast forward five months to the build-up to the second of this season’s Klassikers and things looked very different indeed. By the end of March, a rejuvenated, Kovac-lead Bayern had put together some impressive attacking displays which, coupled with some unfortunate injuries at Dortmund, had seen the champions gradually wrest back top spot in the Bundesliga table.

Matchday 27, however, provided an unwelcome sense of déjà vu for Bayern fans: A shock 1-1 draw with Freiburg coupled with a last-gasp Dortmund win against Wolfsburg (exactly the same result that preceded the previous Klassiker) saw BVB regain first place. The top-of-the-table clash in the Allianz Arena had 'title decider' written all over it: If Dortmund could get a result, they would be in control of their own destiny going into an arguably more favourable run-in than Bayern's.

Injury problems, especially in defence, left Favre unable to field his first-choice XI and Dortmund fans hoping they could find some joy on the counter-attack to get a result that would keep them on course for a first title in seven years. Less than 10 minutes in, Mahmoud Dahoud threatened to put the visitors ahead, but could only hit the outside of the post.

The early scare seemed to jolt Bayern into life as they soon struck through two familiar faces. Former Dortmund defender Mats Hummels opened the scoring from a corner before Lewandowski scored his 200th Bundesliga goal, against his former club, a record for a non-German player.

Robert Lewandowski scored two of Bayern's five goals against Dortmund in the latest edition of Der Klassiker. - Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

With the floodgates open, Bayern poured through and scored two more before half time, all but assuring that they would be sitting top of the table at the end of the night.

The damage having been done in the first half, Bayern spent the second keeping their rivals at arm’s length until dealing a cruel blow very late on. With just two minutes left, Lewy netted his second of the match and his 15th Klassiker goal in 18 meetings for both clubs.

When full time came, no time was added or needed, so clear was the message: Bayern had climbed the mountain and had the title firmly in their sights.

Watch: Kovac savours "benchmark" win

This second Klassiker of 2018/19 leaves Dortmund just a single point behind Bayern. While nothing has been mathematically decided, November’s dissenting voices have decidedly been silenced and Bayern’s quality and elite status emphatically restored.

With six matches left to play, Dortmund could still claim the title. However, in order to do so, they must now rely on results elsewhere going in their favour, whereas Bayern have earned a closing title tilt with their fate in their own hands. In this year’s race for Bundesliga glory, momentum is definitely wearing red.

Lee Turner Kodak