The Bundesliga has some of the soccer world's biggest derbies, from Der Klassiker to the Revierderby to the battle for Rhineland supremacy. - © DFL
The Bundesliga has some of the soccer world's biggest derbies, from Der Klassiker to the Revierderby to the battle for Rhineland supremacy. - © DFL

The biggest soccer derbies and rivalries 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. Allow to walk you through some of Germany's biggest match-ups...

Der Klassiker

Teams: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
First match: 16 October 1965 - a 2-0 win for BVB in Munich
Most recent match: 4 November 2023 - Dortmund 0-4 Bayern
Bundesliga meetings: 109, Bayern lead with 54 wins to Borussia's 25 (30 draws)
Distance between clubs: 372 miles

Der Klassiker explained!

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

The Revierderby

Teams: Borussia Dortmund and Schalke
First match: 3 May 1925 - a 4-2 win for Schalke
Most recent match: 11 March 2023 - Schalke 2-2 Dortmund
Bundesliga meetings: 100, Dortmund lead with 37 wins, 32 losses and 31 draws
Distance between clubs: 20.5 miles

The Revierderby explained!

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 Original Klassiker

Teams: Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach
First match: 2 October 1965 - a 2-1 win for Bayern
Most recent match: 3 February 2024 - Bayern 3-1 Gladbach
Bundesliga meetings: 112, Bayern lead with 53 wins, 28 losses and 31 draws
Distance between clubs: 391.4 miles

Why Bayern vs. Gladbach is such an important fixture

Bayern against Dortmund may now be known as the Klassiker, but the Bavarians’ meetings with Gladbach were originally christened as such. Both earned promotion to the elite during the 1964/65 season, and it wasn’t long before they rose to the table’s summit too.

Bayern needed just three years to finish a campaign in top spot, while Gladbach replaced them there 12 months later. It quickly became apparent that these two were the best German football had to offer, as Gerd Müller, Franz Beckenbauer, Jupp Heynckes and Günter Netzer regularly went toe-to-toe throughout the 70s.

After winning three titles in a row between 1974 and 1977, Gladbach never did so again, while Bayern went on to pick up silverware for decades to come. Still, the Borussia-Park outfit remain something of a bogey team for Munich’s finest, with the former recently going six games unbeaten in head-to-heads.

Watch: Bayern vs. Gladbach - the best goals

The Rhine derby

Teams: Cologne and Borussia Mönchengladbach
First match: January 1, 1962 - Cologne won 4-1
Most recent match: 9 March 2024 - Gladbach 3-3 Cologne
Bundesliga meetings: 98, Gladbach lead the series with 52 wins, 18 draws, 28 defeats
Distance between clubs: 35.4 miles.

Read our 10 things on the Rhine derby

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 Netzer (who subbed himself on) 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.

Watch: Cologne and Gladbach shared six goals in March 2024


Teams: Hamburg and Werder Bremen
First match: 13 March 1927 - a 4-1 win for Hamburg
Most recent match: 27 February 2022 - Hamburg 2-3 Bremen (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 in 2021/22, 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

Bayern vs. Leipzig

Teams: Bayern and RB Leipzig
First match: 21 Decemebr 2016 – Bayern won 3-0
Most recent match: 24 February 2024 - Bayern 2-1 Leipzig
Bundesliga meetings: 16, Bayern have the upper hand with eight wins, six draws and two defeats
Distance between clubs: 256.6 miles

RB Leipzig are one of the newer kids on the Bundesliga block, but that hasn't stopped them from posing a genuine threat to Bayern's place at the top of the German football ladder.

The two clubs have gone into 10 of their 16 Bundesliga meetings across Leipzig's top-flight existence with both in the top three in the table. Die Roten Bullen have only won twice - most recently in Munich late in 2022/23 - but they have more than played their part in some classic encounters, including a 5-4 home loss in May 2017 and a 3-3 draw at the Allianz Arena just over three years later.

Away from the Bundesliga, Leipzig won 3-0 in Munich in the 2023 Supercup, having lost the previous edition 5-3. The pair have also met twice in the DFB Cup, with Bayern prevailing in the 2017/18 second round on penalties, and in the 2019/20 final as part of their historic sextuple.

Watch: Harry Kane helped Bayern beat Leipzig in early 2024

Berlin derby

Teams: Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin
First match: 17 September 2010 (in Bundesliga 2) – a 1-1 draw
Most recent match: 28 January 2023 - Hertha 0-1 Union
Bundesliga meetings: 8, Union have five wins to Hertha's two, plus one draw
Distance between clubs: 15 miles

Why is Union vs. Hertha such a special derby?

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

Hamburg derby

Teams: Hamburg and St. Pauli
First match:
3 September 1977 - Pauli won 2-0
Most recent match:
1 December 2023 - Pauli 2-2 HSV (in Bundesliga 2)
Bundesliga meetings:
16, Hamburg have eight wins to Pauli's two, plus six draws
Distance between clubs:
4.3 miles

Hamburg vs. Pauli: worlds apart in the second city derby

Due to Hamburg’s long stay in the Bundesliga and St. Pauli yo-yoing between the second and third tiers, these two have not met that often, and on only 16 occasions in the top flight. However, considering only 4.3 miles stand between the Millerntor Stadion and the Volksparkstadion, the duo were always going to share an intense rivalry.

It is not just the proximity that makes this game special, though – since the 1980s, it has been a clash of footballing and political ideology. While St. Pauli hail from a working-class neighbourhood in the city centre, their arch-nemesis’ hail from the city suburbs and are perceived as more upper-class. 

HSV have often been top dogs in the city, but the tables have turned, at least for now – St. Pauli currently sit top of the Bundesliga 2 and are on course for promotion, while Die Rothosen are 10 points adrift in third as they continue their search for a return to the elite. Since Hamburg dropped down a division, St. Pauli have enjoyed contests against them, winning on five out of 11 occasions and losing just three times (three draws).

Watch: The Hamburg derby explained

Baden-Swabia derby

Teams: VfB Stuttgart and Karlsruhe
First match:
12 October 1963 - Stuttgart won 3-0
Most recent match:
1 March 2009 - Stuttgart won 2-0
Bundesliga meetings:
44, Stuttgart have 27 wins to Karlsruhe's eight, plus nine draws
Distance between clubs:
51.6 miles

You have to go back to 1806 to get to the root of this fierce feud. Under Napoleon’s rule, Stuttgart’s Württemberg was made a kingdom, while Karlsruhe’s Baden remained a duchy. As such, the former has always benefited from greater investment, and the people of Baden and Karlsruhe have often come off second best.

Even the merger of the two in 1951 could not see the two regions settle their differences, and the bad blood transferred to the football pitch. Stuttgart have had the better of things, often getting one over their rivals.

The two have played a lot fewer encounters than other match-ups on this list, but few are as passionate as this one. With Karlsruhe languishing in the Bundesliga 2’s mid-table and Stuttgart on course for the UEFA Champions League, the tension will be able to build up ahead of the next clash for a while longer yet.