The Bundesliga has some of the soccer world's biggest derbies. - © DFL
The Bundesliga has some of the soccer world's biggest derbies. - © DFL
bundesliga

The biggest soccer derbies in the Bundesliga: Klassiker, Revierderby and more

Der Klassiker between perennial title rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund may be one of the most hotly anticipated games of any Bundesliga season, but nothing stirs the emotions quite like a fierce local derby.

From Bavaria to Berlin via the Ruhr district and the Rhine, we take a look at some of the best rivalries in Germany.

Bavarian derby

Teams: Bayern and Augsburg
First match: 6 November 2011 – Bayern won 2-1
Most recent match: 20 January 2021 - Bayern won 1-0 in Augsburg
Bundesliga meetings: 19. Bayern have the upper hand with 15 wins, two draws and two defeats
Distance between clubs: 40.3 miles

This is a relatively new fixture on the calendar, following Augsburg’s maiden promotion to the Bundesliga in 2011. And while Die Függerstädter may not be able to match Bayern in terms of history or on-field success, there is always an added spice to the occasion between two teams located deep in the heart of Bavaria.

Robert Lewandowski seems to thrive on the intensity of the atmosphere and is the leading scorer in matches between the sides, having found the net 13 times. That has helped Bayern to a whopping 15 victories, with Augsburg’s only two wins coming when Bayern had already wrapped up the title.

Watch: Highlights of the most recent meeting between the sides in January 2021

The Revierderby

Teams: Dortmund and Schalke
First match: 3 May 1925 - a 4-2 win for Schalke
Most recent match: 24 October 2020 - Dortmund won 3-0
Bundesliga meetings: 97. Dortmund lead with 35 wins, 32 losses and 30 draws
Distance between clubs: 20.5 miles

Known as 'the mother of all derbies', clashes between Dortmund and Schalke have developed into one of the fiercest rivalries in world football.

This is largely due to two of the game's most passionate sets of fans vying for local bragging rights in Germany's industrial heartland, which for generations was the centre for coal and steel production in the country. Both clubs arose from similar backgrounds with a working-class fan base, standing for heart and passion in football.

The Revierderby has produced many a dramatic encounter over the years, but perhaps none more so than in November 2017, when Dortmund raced into a 4-0 half-time lead only to be pegged back after the break, with Schalke scoring a last-gasp equaliser to snatch a 4-4 draw.

Watch: THAT epic 4-4 Revierderby draw!

The Rhine derby

Teams: Cologne and Borussia Mönchengladbach
First match: January 1, 1962 - Cologne won 4-1
Most recent match: 6 February 2021 - Cologne won 2-1 in Gladbach
Bundesliga meetings: 92. Gladbach lead the series with 51 wins, 25 losses and 16 draws.
Distance between clubs:  35.4 miles.

This rivalry took a little while to get going but, once lit, it has since burned as hot as any in Germany. While Cologne were cruising to the inaugural Bundesliga title, one of the club's favourite sons, Hennes Weisweiler, took charge of second-tier Gladbach.

The former Cologne player and coach, for whom their famous goat mascot Hennes is named, guided his new club into the Bundesliga, where they experienced great success and built the foundation of what grew into one of Germany's premier clubs.

Meanwhile, the Billy Goats stagnated and failed to live up to the expectation of dominating the region as the big-city club. By the time player-coach Günter Netzer scored the game-winning goal for Gladbach against Cologne in the 1973 DFB Cup final, the animus between the two sets of fans had become a permanent fixture of any meeting between them.

No quarter is ever asked or given when Rhineland rivals Cologne and Gladbach meet. - Jörg Schüler/Bongarts/Getty Images

Nordderby

Teams: Hamburg and Werder Bremen.
First match: 13 March 1927 - a 4-1 win for Hamburg
Most recent match: 24 February 2018 - Bremen won 1-0
Bundesliga meetings: 108. Werder lead the head-to-head with 39 wins, 34 losses and 35 draws
Distance between clubs: 72 miles

Once the most-played fixture in the Bundesliga between what were - until Hamburg's relegation at the end of the 2017/18 season - the league's two longest-serving clubs. It may now be a while since either of them last lifted any silverware, but these two were powerhouses back in the day and are still among Germany's best-supported clubs.

Since their first meeting in a preliminary round of the North German championship, the pair have played out 120 competitive matches. The pinnacle of the rivalry came in 2009 when they met four times in just 18 days.

Two of the four matches came in European competition at the semi-final stage of the last-ever edition of the UEFA Cup. After losing 1-0 at home in the first leg, Werder won 3-2 in Hamburg to advance to the final on away goals.

Berlin derby

Teams: Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin
First match: 17 September 2010 (in Bundesliga 2) – a 1-1 draw
Most recent match: 4 December 2020 - Hertha won 3-1
Bundesliga meetings: 3. Hertha lead with two wins to one
Distance between clubs: 15 miles (between the two stadiums)

The teams' Matchday 10 in 2019/20 encounter was a historic one, as it marked the first Berlin derby in the Bundesliga in over 40 years - the last such occasion was in the 1976/77 season, when Hertha faced Tennis Borussia Berlin - and the first-ever all-Berlin derby since German Reunification.

East beat west on a famous night at the Stadion an den Alten Försterei, thanks to Sebastian Pölter's second-half penalty. The Olympiastadion hosted the reverse fixture as the Old Lady ran out 4-0 winners on Matchday 27. A crucial victory as Hertha only finished the campaign ahead of the Bundesliga newcomers on goal difference. The Old Lady then claimed the first spoils of 2020/21 at home.

Watch: A closer look at the Berlin derby between Union and Hertha

Der Klassiker

Teams: Bayern and Dortmund
First match: 16 October 1965 - a 2-0 win for BVB in Munich
Most recent match: 7 November 2020 - Bayern won 3-2 in Dortmund
Bundesliga meetings: 103. Bayern lead with 49 wins to Borussia's 25 (29 draws)
Distance between clubs: 372 miles

This is no neighbourhood turf war - nor is it even a battle for regional pride. Games between the only two teams to win the Bundesliga title in the last decade are always fierce, and have, in recent years, usually decided the course of the Meisterschale.

The fan bases are not shy about making plain their feelings for one another as this rivalry was born out of pure competition between the clubs to be the best.

The Lewandowski factor only adds to the weight of the occasion. The Poland international netted 103 goals in 187 appearances for Dortmund, before switching to Bayern on a free transfer in summer 2014. Since then he's struck over 270 times in all competitions for the record champions, helping himself to 18 goals in 21 matches against his former employers.

Watch: A sublime Joshua Kimmich chip was the difference in a tight Klassiker in 2019/20