Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna and Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies (l-r.) have already etched their names into the Klassiker annals. - © imago images / Poolfoto
Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna and Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies (l-r.) have already etched their names into the Klassiker annals. - © imago images / Poolfoto
bundesliga

A brief history of North Americans in Der Klassiker

With Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna and Bayern Munich's Chris Richards both potentially taking to the field on Saturday, US nationals could line up on opposing sides in Der Klassiker for the first time in Bundesliga history.

In anticipation of the milestone moment, bundesliga.com revisits past North American involvement in German soccer's clash of the titans...

The first American

Berlin-born Wolfgang Sühnholz was the first American to play for Bayern, but didn't have the opportunity to face Dortmund in Der Klassiker during his 1971-73 stint in the Bavarian capital.

Dortmund's first US-born player did - his name was Jovan Kirovski.

The former BVB forward made his Klassiker debut as an 81st-minute replacement for Lars Ricken in a goalless draw in Munich on 20 October 1996. He also played the full 90 of a 2-0 home defeat to Bayern on 11 November 1997, but was an unused substitute in the reverse fixture, which ended in a 4-0 loss

Jovan Kirovski didn't earn a win over Bayern, but he did lift the UEFA Champions League. - imago

The first win

Landon Donovan succeeded where Kirovski came up short by becoming the first North American to record a win in Der Klassiker.

The USMNT supremo made one of his six Bundesliga appearances whilst on loan at Bayern as a 72nd-minute substitute for Luca Toni in a 3-1 home win on 8 February 2009.

The first goal

Given Donovan's 57 goals in 157 USMNT appearances, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Californian might have been the first player from the North American continent to fire in Der Klassiker.

It is, in fact, Christian Pulisic who holds that particular distinction, courtesy of his effort in the 2017 Supercup.

Dortmund went on to lose the contest on penalties, but Pulisic remains the youngest Supercup scorer in history, aged 18 years and 322 days.

His overall record in competitive meetings with Bayern reads: W3, D1, L5.

Christian Pulisic sent the Signal Iduna Park into raptures with his Supercup goal against Bayern. - imago

The youngest debutant

Until recently, Pulisic was also the youngest North American to have featured in Der Klassiker.

The former Dortmund playmaker was a sprightly 18 years and 14 days old when he made his Klassiker debut from the bench in a 1-0 home win on Matchday 11 of the 2016/17 Bundesliga campaign - but then Reyna came along.

Aged 17 years, six months and 13 days - and not long having eclipsed Pulisic as the youngest American to feature in the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League - the England-born US teenager became Der Klassiker's greenest US debutant with his second-half cameo in the 1-0 loss to Bayern on Matchday 28 of 2019/20.

Watch: USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter on Gio Reyna and Chris Richards in Der Klassiker

The first Canadian

Canada's Alphonso Davies was on the opposing side to Reyna at the Signal Iduna Park, lining up in Der Klassiker for the third time of his career.

The former Vancouver Whitecaps starlet helped Bayern to a league double over Dortmund that season, having tasted defeat on his Klassiker debut in the 2019 Supercup.

Calgary-born Owen Hargreaves made six competitive appearances against Dortmund during his seven-year stint at Bayern between 2000 and 2007, but represented England - not Canada - at international level.

Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho did not know which way to turn when faced with Bayern teenager Davies in Der Klassiker last season. - DFL

The first trophy

Davies had his revenge in his fourth Klassiker outing, as Bayern shaded Dortmund 3-2 in the 2020 Supercup.

Bayern's American defender Chris Richards also got his hands on the trophy, having made a second-half cameo in place of Benjamin Pavard.

Pulisic lost two domestic finals to the record champions, including the aforementioned 2017 Supercup, which featured Floridian Julian Green.

Despite being an unused substitute, the now Greuther Fürth winger went home with a winner's medal - a first for a North American in a winner-takes-all Klassiker.