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.
Teams: Bayern and Augsburg
First match: 6 November 2011 – Bayern won 2-1
Most recent match: 11 March 2023 - Bayern won 5-3 at home
Bundesliga meetings: 23, Bayern have the upper hand with 17 wins, two draws and four 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.
Former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski thrived on the intensity of the atmosphere and is the leading scorer in matches between the sides, having found the net 16 times - including a historic 41st goal of the 2020/21 season. It's not a completely one-sided fixture, though. Bayern lost 2-1 in Augsburg last term and 1-0 away on Matchday 7 of the 2022/23 campaign.
Watch: Highlights of the most recent meeting between the sides
Teams: Dortmund and Schalke
First match: 3 May 1925 - a 4-2 win for Schalke
Most recent match: 11 March 2023 - A 2-2 draw in Gelsenkirchen
Bundesliga meetings: 100, Dortmund lead with 37 wins, 32 losses and 31 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: 9 October 2022 - Gladbach 5-2 Cologne
Bundesliga meetings: 95, Gladbach lead the series with 52 wins, 16 draws, 27 defeats
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.
Teams: Hamburg and Werder Bremen
First match: 13 March 1927 - a 4-1 win for Hamburg
Most recent match: 27 February 2022 - Bremen won 3-2 in Hamburg (Bundesliga 2)
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 130 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.
But the winds have changed up north. HSV won in Bremen in the pair's maiden Bundesliga 2 meeting last season, before Werder returned the favour on their to winning promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Watch: Marvin Ducksch gave Bremen the Nordderby spoils in Hamburg
Teams: Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin
First match: 17 September 2010 (in Bundesliga 2) – a 1-1 draw
Most recent match: 28 January 2023 - A 2-0 Union win at the Olympiastadion
Bundesliga meetings: 8, Union have five wins to Hertha's two, plus one draw
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 before a draw back in the east as Die Eisernen became the first capital club to finish above Hertha in the Bundesliga. Union have since recorded five straight derby wins, including one in the last 16 of the 2021/22 DFB Cup.
Watch: A closer look at the Berlin derby between Union and Hertha
Teams: Bayern and Dortmund
First match: 16 October 1965 - a 2-0 win for BVB in Munich
Most recent match: 8 October 2022 - Dortmund 2-2 Bayern
Bundesliga meetings: 107, Bayern lead with 52 wins to Borussia's 25 (30 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, as was the case in 2021/22.
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 added 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. He struck over 300 times in all competitions for the record champions, helping himself to 23 goals in 16 league matches against his former employers, before moving to Barcelona in summer 2022.
Watch: A Lewandowski hat-trick trumped an Erling Haaland brace in a classic Klassiker
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