Bayern Munich celebrate their dramatic 2022/23 title triumph - © IMAGO/Sven Simon
Bayern Munich celebrate their dramatic 2022/23 title triumph - © IMAGO/Sven Simon
60 years of Bundesliga

Dortmund and Bayern's 2022/23 title race goes to the wire

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It was a season of unforgettable Klassiker drama with heartbreaking lows and last-gasp highs during a 2022/23 Bundesliga campaign that neither Bayern Munich nor Borussia Dortmund will ever forget.

As two of Germany's leading clubs, Bayern and Dortmund have been involved in numerous title races. However, none can match the drama that unfolded throughout the 2022/23 term, a season full of twists and turns right until the very last second...

Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Bayern Munich (Matchday 9, 2022/23)

By the time the first Klassiker of last season rolled around, our rivals were both strangely absent from the Bundesliga's top two. Union Berlin and Freiburg shared top billing while Bayern - in third - edged BVB on goal difference.

Watch: Dortmund's sensational comeback against Bayern

The Bavarian giants had won the previous seven successive top-flight encounters in this fixture, and so when Julian Nagelsmann's side took a 2-0 lead in Dortmund through long-range goals from Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sané, the game appeared done. 

Not so. Substitute Anthony Modeste teed up Youssoufa Moukoko, who finished to become the Black-and-Yellow's youngest-ever Klassiker goalscorer. Kingsley Coman was then sent off for a second bookable offence as the game ticked into injury time.

The Yellow Wall pulsated, paused and then erupted into ecstasy as Dortmund's desperate, last-second hail Mary gamble came off, with Modeste nodding in at the far post to rescue a draw as Bayern fell to their knees. 

Youssoufa Moukoko celebrates his record-breaking goal against Bayern Munich - IMAGO/Nordphoto

"I haven't got words to be honest," former BVB hero Jude Bellingham said when asked to sum up the finish afterwards. "We haven't got the three points but the bigger picture is the vibe and the energy that gives off and the way that we got back into the game," the midfielder added. "That's why it maybe feels like a win. The atmosphere in the dressing room is going to be brilliant."    

Bayern Munich 4-2 Borussia Dortmund (Matchday 26, 2022/23)

Fast forward to the following April and it was BVB who now led the Bundesliga standings as Bayern showcased new coach Thomas Tuchel ahead of what would turn out to be a largely one-sided contest.

The game started in the worst possible manner for visiting goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, whose attempt at clearing a harmless Dayot Upamecano through pass saw the custodian hack mostly at air and slightly clip the ball, which rolled behind him into the empty net.

Watch: Bayern stroll past Dortmund

Thomas Müller - featuring in his 25th Klassiker - then deflected in from Matthijs de Ligt's towering header. Müller then added his second when Kobel could only parry a long-range shot. With all of this taking place within the game's first 25 minutes, Die Schwarzgelben's pre-match hopes were extinguished. 

Coman made it 4-0 shortly after the restart before Emre Can (from the penalty spot) and Donyell Malen produced a couple of late consolations for the away side, who were leapfrogged by their victorious opponents in the table as a result.    

"I wouldn't rate the game as one of our best but we had very strong phases," Müller noted afterwards. "The situation in the standings [beforehand] was dangerous for us. We were able to decide an important game like Der Klassiker in our favour and that gives a good feeling," he continued.

"If we had lost the game today it would have been difficult, especially as we saw that BVB had nine wins and a draw in their previous 10 games," Joshua Kimmich added. 

Jamal Musiala (l.), Thomas Müller, Matthijs de Ligt and Joshua Kimmch (r.) celebrate the crucial win over Dortmund - IMAGO/Sven Simon

"It means we are where we want to be; on top of the table," Bayern's newly appointed coach Tuchel said. "Now it's a race to the end. We have things in our own hands and that's what we want," the 50-year-old continued. 

Season finale (Matchday 34, 2022/23)

The Klassiker rivals arrived to the final game of the season separated by two points. Dortmund were top and could feel their fingertips on the Meisterschale. Victory at home against ninth-placed Mainz would seal the deal of a first Bundesliga title since 2012. 

Bayern travelled to Cologne knowing they had to win while hoping for a slip-up from their rivals less than 60 miles away. Yet even the most die-hard of FCB supporters must have feared the chances of winning an 11th successive top-flight title were doomed. 

A festival atmosphere on a gloriously sunny afternoon around the Signal Iduna Park on matchday heightened the sense of anticipation among those in Black-and-Yellow. Everything pointed towards Dortmund taking the Bundesliga title from their Klassiker rivals and their players and fans celebrating into the pre-summer night.

Mainz hadn't read the script, however. Incredibly, the 05ers were 2-0 ahead inside 25 minutes, Andreas Hanche-Olsen and Karim Onisiwo scoring for Bo Svensson's party poopers.

Watch: The story of a dramatic final day

To make matters worse for Edin Terzić's side, Bayern were leading at the RheinEnergieStadion through an eighth minute Coman goal. Even when Raphaël Guerreiro pulled one back for battling Borussia and then Dejan Ljubicic equalised for Cologne, there was grim sense of inevitability among Dortmund fans that had been festering from the opening quarter of their side's game.

Bayern were not going to be denied. And, sure enough, when Jamal Musiala picked up possession and slalomed forward before hitting the sweetest of strikes into the far corner, the record champions were home free. Not even a very late equaliser from former Bayern defender Niklas Süle could change the outcome for Dortmund, who had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Bayern's superb battling abilities and never-say-die attitude, along with Musiala's genius, had edged them over the line on goal difference in what was an epic title race. 

"Today we had the last shot and the last answer to all the questions with Jamal. We'll take it, but it was a crazy, crazy afternoon," an ecstatic Tuchel said afterwards. "It’s definitely an amazing feeling. After our struggles this season, to actually win the league is amazing," Musiala enthused. "We had nothing to lose. It wasn't a good season for us, we know that, [but] we are extremely happy to have won the title."

Watch: Bayern celebrate 11 in a row in Marienplatz

This title race was one for the ages and, while not everyone could depart happy, it will live long in the memory for all involved.