Munich - A rivalry born of proximity as well as success, the stature of the 1. FC Nuremberg - FC Bayern Munich derby is as strong as ever as Bavaria's longest-serving Bundesliga representatives get set to meet for the 185th time on Saturday.
Boasting 79 seasons and 4,779 goals between them in Germany's top flight, the past encounters of these two state-sharing sides possess a rich history of cup finals, high-scoring contests and the displacement of power at the top of German football.
Ask fans of either team and they'll paint a wonderful picture to remind you of the classic matches between these sides that underpin the importance of the rivalry in their respective regions. Separated by less than 150km of German land, it was just over 46 years ago on 30 October 1965 that Bayern, a newly-promoted side including future club legends Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller at the time, first met Nuremberg in the Bundesliga. However, a 0-0 draw did not foreshadow what this derby would have to offer in the coming years.
In fact, of the 56 Bundesliga meetings between these two southern rivals, 31 have seen three or more goals hit the net, the highest-scoring of which took place during the 1967/68 campaign in a match that will live long in the memories of the Franconian faithful. Nuremberg walked away 7-3 winners on that occasion, as striker Franz Brungs penned his name in der Club's history books by netting five times, spreading the gap between themselves and second-placed Bayern in their most recent title-winning season.
Shift in power
Since then die Münchner have gone on to become the dominant outfit in this duel, winning 34 of their league encounters. Two goals down at half-time in the 1982 DFB Cup final, Bayern's prospects of claiming the trophy for a sixth time were looking bleak. However, second-half strikes from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Wolfgang Kraus, Paul Breitner and a turbaned Dieter Hoeneß saw the Reds take home the cup for the first time in eleven years.
It was the start of things to come and five years later, in 1987, the future record titleholders had usurped rivals Nuremberg as Germany's most successful club by claiming their tenth domestic title courtesy of a near unblemished record (20 wins, 13 draws, one defeat).
Dominance drilled home
In terms of memorable matches, though, you'd be forgiven for overlooking Bayern's 2-1 win on 23 April 1994 as it no longer exists in the record books. Thomas Helmer scuffed his early effort wide of the post, but the goal was bizarrely given by the match officials, prompting the DFL to demand the match be replayed after der Club appealed the decision. Ten days later and FCB recorded their biggest winning margin in the Bavarian derby by scoring five unanswered goals, a result which contributed greatly to Nuremberg's subsequent relegation and Bayern's twelfth Bundesliga title win.
18-penalty nail-biters, like in their DFB Cup second round tie in 2003, and a nine-goal thriller in the final match at Munich's old Olympiastadion have further ensured this fixture remains one of the most hotly-anticipated on the Bundesliga calendar.
James Thorogood in Munich