Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund, or Der Klassiker - classic by name, classic by nature. The upcoming edition at the Allianz Arena on 6 April is the 100th of the Bundesliga era and has 'title decider' written all over it - but how will the contest stand up to previous meetings between the two German football juggernauts? bundesliga.com remembers five of the best Klassikers of the new millennium...
5) Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Bayern Munich - MD11, 2018/19
Dortmund had made a blistering, table-topping start to the season and were 90 positive minutes away from equalling a club record of 11 Bundesliga games without defeat when defending champions Bayern came to town on 10 November 2018.
Bayern were four points off the pace after a run of disappointing results the previous month, but made an ominous start. Serge Gnabry was in rampant mood, and after going close himself, teed up Dortmund old boy Robert Lewandowski for the first of five Klassiker goals.
Dortmund talisman Marco Reus won and converted a second-half penalty, but parity lasted less than three minutes with the Gnabry-Lewandowski axis cranking into gear once again to restore Bayern's lead. Lewy would have had a third but for the linesman’s flag, and it proved a key moment in a rip-roaring contest.
Attacking the 24,000 or so Black-Yellow bricks in the Yellow Wall, Dortmund found a second wind and levelled through captain fantastic Reus. Then came the moment that confirmed BVB's title-chasing credentials. After Jadon Sancho had dispossessed Franck Ribery in his own half, Axel Witsel sprayed a stunning ball over the top for super sub Paco Alcacer to chase - and chase he did. The Spain striker hot-footed past the Bayern defence to slot past Manuel Neuer and bring up his seventh Bundesliga goal in six appearances (five from the bench!).
Lewandowski had a late effort chalked off for another offside decision as the whistle blew on one of the most absorbing Bundesliga games in living memory. So used to being the hunted, Bayern were suddenly the ones having to do the hunting.
4) Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Bayern Munich - MD30, 2011/12
The boiling point that thrust Der Klassiker into the spotlight for many football fans across the globe came during Jürgen Klopp’s reign at Dortmund. Under the charismatic coach’s "heavy metal football" philosophy, Die Schwarzgelben set the Bundesliga alight with a squad that mixed homegrown talent and exotic signings that had previously flown under the radar. They had won the club’s fourth Bundesliga title in the 2010/11 season and, with five games to go in the 2011/12 campaign, Dortmund were leading the standings again - three points ahead of Bayern.
That year’s virtual Bundesliga final was a tense affair. Although Bayern controlled possession, Dortmund had more chances. More importantly, they could rely on the killer instinct of Lewandowski, who broke the deadlock in the 77th minute after cheekily deflecting an edge-of-the-box-effort from Kevin Großkreutz with his heel.
In the 86th minute, Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller felled Arjen Robben in the box, gifting the visitors a golden opportunity to level from the spot. Just when it seemed that Bayern would be able to prolong the title fight, though, Weidenfeller made good on his mistake and saved Robben’s penalty.
The Dutchman had another chance to equalise from open play shortly after, but when Neven Subotic inadvertently headed against his own bar, Robben skied his attempt to force home a close-range rebound. In the end, an ecstatic Dortmund squad celebrated with their fans what surely felt like their second Bundesliga title on the bounce - a sensation that became reality only two matchdays later.
3) Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Bayern Munich - DFB Cup Final, 2011/12
If the league tie that resulted in Dortmund lifting the 2011/12 Meisterschale was the spark that lit Der Klassiker on fire, the 2012 DFB Cup final was the fuel that took the rivalry stratospheric. A week after the Bundesliga had ended, both teams took to the field at Berlin’s Olympiastadion for a high-stakes rematch. With Dortmund’s first-ever domestic double on the line, Bayern approached the game as a chance to reassert their dominance ahead of the UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea in Munich a week later.
Die Schwarzgelben got off to a thundering start with Shinji Kagawa netting in the third minute after Jakub Blaszczykowski capitalised on a mistake in Bayern’s defence. Robben equalised from the penalty spot, but Mats Hummels repaid the Bavarians in kind by beating Neuer from 12 yards out. With the lead in their hands, Dortmund pressed on and Lewandowski nutmegged Neuer with a close-range shot to make it 3-1 in first-half injury time.
After the break, the Polish goal machine continued to steal the spotlight with an inspired performance. In the 58th minute, he was once again allowed to shoot from inside the box and punished Bayern with his second goal of the night. Ribery reduced the deficit with a magical solo effort that made it 4-2, but any hopes of a comeback were soon dashed by the man of the hour. Lukasz Piszczek made the most of an error by Neuer and crossed for Lewandowski, who headed home to complete his hat-trick and seal a league and cup double for Dortmund.
2) Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Final, 2012/13
After two years of Black-Yellow dominance, Jupp Heynckes' Bayern decided that enough was enough, and mounted one of the strongest campaigns in football history. They steamrollered the opposition in the Bundesliga, winning the title by 25 points. They beat Dortmund to the DFL Supercup title at the beginning of the season and also eliminated them in the DFB Cup quarter-finals. By the time the UEFA Champions League final rolled around, the balance after four meetings that season stood at two wins for Bayern and two draws.
Dortmund and Bayern met at Wembley Stadium in London to contest the first ever all-German continental final after eliminating Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively in the previous round. The local rivalry that had intensified in the last couple of years now stood as the centrepiece of European football. The battle on the field was electric and neither side gave the other an inch until Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring on the hour. Eight minutes later, Ilkay Gündogan equalised for Dortmund from the penalty spot.
Fans at home and in the stands were already settling in for extra time when Robben steamed into the Dortmund box and tapped the ball past Weidenfeller to secure victory on continental football's biggest stage. A few days later, the Bavarian giants secured a historic treble with a win over VfB Stuttgart in the DFB Cup final. Dortmund’s revolution had pushed the biggest team in Germany beyond its limits, prompting a footballing renaissance in Munich that is still felt to this very day.
1) Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund, MD28, 2018/19?
Bayern's 2012/13 treble triumph heralded a new era for the Bavarian behemoth - they've cleaned house since, and can make it an unprecedented seventh successive Bundesliga title win if they can hold off the challenge of Dortmund between now and May.
Form, unlike in the reverse fixture, is on their side, too, with Niko Kovac's men winning their last six league games on the spin to turn a nine-point deficit into a table-topping lead by virtue of their superior goal difference.
By contrast, Dortmund have wobbled, claiming just 11 points in that time - but there was more than just a hint of the old fight that left Bayern a quivering wreck on Matchday 11 in their nerve-shredding meeting with Hertha Berlin prior to the March international break. Again, it was hometown saviour Reus performing match-winning duties in the 92nd minute of a welcome 3-2 victory.
It's champions against challengers; James Rodriguez vs. Reus; Lewandowski vs. Alcacer - but will the 100th Bundesliga Klassiker decide the title race? Whatever happens on 6 April, it promises to be a thrill-a-minute spectacle for the ages...