Boasting a combined 28 Bundesliga titles between them, clashes between these two clubs are considered one of German football’s fiercest rivalries, and it's one that has had it’s fire stoked in the past few years as a result of the brazen battles for trophies on both the domestic and international stages as well as big-name players switching allegiances.
A total of 14 players have crossed the dividing line since the Bundesliga’s inception and with the rivalry set to resume on Matchday 27, bundesliga.com has picked out six of the best-known, three of whom will be in action on Saturday evening.
Both the Dortmund and Bayern faithful have fond memories of Thomas Helmer, who made nearly 200 Bundesliga appearances for both clubs. Helmer moved to BVB as a 21-year-old, experiencing an up-and-down six-year stint that produced one DFB Cup win and culminated in a 2nd place finish in 1991/92. The then 27-year-old became the Bundesliga’s record transfer at the time in making the move to Bavaria, where he established himself as one of Europe’s elite defenders and clinched three league titles. He was named Footballer of the Year by German publication kicker in 1996, but he's perhaps best remembered for scoring the original Phantomtor.
Regarded as one the best German centre-backs of his generation, world and European champion Kohler spent two seasons at FC Bayern between 1989 and 1991, clinching a Bundesliga title in his debut campaign. After being named in the Team of the Tournament at UEFA EURO 1992, where Germany finished second, he switched to Juventus FC, before he returned to his home country four years later with Borussia Dortmund. Some 191 league outings, two Bundesliga titles, a maiden UEFA Champions League trophy and a FIFA Club World Cup win followed, but his final game ended on a sour note as he was sent off in the 31st minute of Dortmund’s 3-2 UEFA Cup final defeat to Feyenoord for a last-man challenge.
Like Kohler, Reuter was a world and European champion with the German national team. Domestically FC Augsburg’s current sporting director enjoyed a three-year spell at FC Bayern, which produced a treble of honours, but it was at Borussia, following a season spent with Juventus in 1991/92, where Reuter earned legendary status. The uncompromising right-back made 412 appearances in all competitions for BVB, scoring 15 goals and providing the assist for a further 28, helping his side to three Bundesliga titles, their first ever Champions League win over his former club Juve in 1997 and the subsequent Club World Cup.
FC Bayern are known for exercising fantastic judgement in regard to a player’s abilities, but in Mats Hummels, the record titleholders let a true talent slip through their grasp. The ball-playing centre-back made just one appearance for Bayern and, having failed to make a real breakthrough, was farmed out to Dortmund on an 18-month loan deal in 2008. Injuries hampered his development during that stint, but Hummels still did enough to convince BVB to make the move permanent just over a year later. Now a first-team regular for club and country, not to mention a domestic double winner in 2012, Dortmund have never looked back and their current captain has proven his Bavarian doubters wrong.
A winner of the Golden Fritz-Walter-Medal in both the U17 and U18 categories, Mario Götze was once hailed as a “talent of the century” by former head coach Felix Magath and entered football's superstar elite by scoring Germany’s FIFA World Cup-winning goal in Brazil in 2014. Having come through the ranks at BVB, the versatile playmaker made his top-flight debut at the age of 17, but despite winning two Bundesliga titles and the DFB Cup in four seasons, the Memmingen native always dreamed of playing for his boyhood club, Bayern. Götze made the move in 2013 and is well on his way to fulfilling his true potential, having already been directly involved in 31 goals in 51 appearances.
Signed by Dortmund from Polish outfit Lech Poznan to provide cover for first-choice striker Lucas Barrios in 2010, Robert Lewandowski wasted little time in seizing upon an opportunity to usurp the Paraguayan, before going on to become one of BVB’s all-time greatest strikers. The Pole scored 103 times in 187 outings in all competitions during one of BVB’s most successful periods. Unsurprisingly that caught the attention of FC Bayern who pounced on his expiring contract last summer. With a goals-to-game ratio of 47 per cent in all competitions for Bayern compared to the 55 per cent he enjoyed in Dortmund, Lewandowski is yet to prove as prolific in Bavaria and, with a point still to prove, would be keen to do so against his former side.