RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich have already produced titanic tussles in the Bundesliga, with many more sure to come in the future. - © 2017 DFL
RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich have already produced titanic tussles in the Bundesliga, with many more sure to come in the future. - © 2017 DFL

RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich: a brief history of the Bundesliga’s most exciting new rivalry

RB Leipzig's extraordinary rise from the regional divisions to the UEFA Champions League has ignited a major new rivalry, and one which could have a major say in the destination of the Bundesliga title this season.

In recent years, Bayern Munich had seen only Borussia Dortmund regularly challenge their imperious authority at the top. However, having now qualified for the Champions League for a second time in just their third top-flight season, it appears Leipzig are setting out their stall as a major new menace for Munich.

No more so than on Matchday 33, when they welcome the record champions to the Red Bull Arena and can knock the Bavarians off their seventh-straight title course with a win which would say louder than ever before that Leipzig are a new Bundesliga force to be reckoned with.

Watch: Leipzig and Bayern produced an incredible nine-goal thriller in 2016/17!

It all began back in December 2016 when Leipzig paid their first visit to the Allianz Arena midway through their inaugural season in Germany's top flight, having climbed from the fifth division of German football to the Bundesliga in just seven years. They came into town not just as league newcomers, but level on points with the Bavarians at the top of the pile in the final round of matches before the winter break.

"We're going there to win," proclaimed Leipzig's sporting director Ralf Rangnick, who has also coached the club this season following the departure of Ralph Hasenhüttl. His prediction that Leipzig emulating Kaiserslautern and winning the title in their first season after promotion was "unlikely" proved accurate, with the gap between the two clubs growing from the three points it became after Bayern's statement-making 3-0 win to 15 come the end of the season, but with Leipzig finishing second only to the Bavarians, they had already delivered a statement of their own.

That final gap could have been just nine points had the Red Bulls not squandered leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in their first ever home meeting with Bayern on the penultimate day of the season, eventually going down 5-4 to the already-crowned champions. It was the same scoreline, albeit on penalty kicks, when Bayern beat Leipzig in the second round of the DFB Cup last season with the stall set out for guaranteed drama when these two teams meet.

Watch: Tifo Football's Analysis: RB Leipzig!

That continued last season, when Leipzig chalked up their first ever win over the Bavarians. It was a result which barely made a dent in Bayern's title charge, but helped ensure Leipzig would qualify for the UEFA Europa League at the end of the season. More pertinently, perhaps, it showed that Leipzig could indeed get the measure of Bayern.

Fast-forward just over a year and Leipzig meet Bayern for the seventh time, hoping that number will be lucky for them, and perhaps also for Borussia Dortmund, who are reliant on Bayern slipping up at least once between now and the end of the season if they are to wrestle the title from them. More than just that, however, it could be a further indication of a rivalry which looks set to endure with Leipzig already assured of their second season rubbing shoulders with Europe's elite.

Watch: Bayern and Leipzig played out an intense game earlier this season!

It may be a match between a club with no major trophies in the cabinet and one who have had to build a museum to store their 71 items of silverware, but while history lies lopsidedly in Bayern's favour, the future could well belong to Leipzig and that is why Matchday 33's clash is so significant.

And what better a way to start that trophy collection than in the next meeting between these two clubs, the DFB Cup final in Berlin on 25 May, when the most exciting new rivalry in the Bundesliga moves on to a new level.