Bayern Munich ran out 3-1 winners in the last Klassiker meeting with Borussia Dortmund. Can James Rodriguez, Thiago and David Alaba inspire them to another victory this time? - © © imago
Bayern Munich ran out 3-1 winners in the last Klassiker meeting with Borussia Dortmund. Can James Rodriguez, Thiago and David Alaba inspire them to another victory this time? - © © imago

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund: The top 5 matches in Der Klassiker history

They don’t call it Der Klassiker for nothing. The history between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund is filled with tenacious battles throughout the years that have become the stuff of legend.

5) Borussia Dortmund 4-4 Bayern Munich - MD 32, 1982/83 remembers the five best Klassikers of all time.

Ah, the 80s… a decade that will forever be remembered for techno-pop music, paranormal activity in Hawkins, Indiana, and some epic football scraps. When Dortmund hosted Bayern in the 1982/83 season, a high-scoring unfolded that swiftly went down in Bundesliga folklore. Dieter Hoeneß opened the scoring for the visitors early on, only for Marcel Raducanu to level things before the break with a free-kick.

In the second half, Bayern took the lead again through Udo Horsmann, but Raducanu was having none of it and made it 2-2 in the 62nd minute. Klaus Augenthaler put Bayern in front once more shortly afterwards, and the Bavarians stepped on the gas with two clear opportunities in succession. Defender Lothar Huber cleared a powerful shot right on the goal line before goalkeeper Eike Immel denied the visitors from close range.

Watch: Highlights of this instant classic

4) Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Bayern Munich - MD30, 2011/12

Then came three minutes of absolute madness. Manfred Burgsmüller equalised again in the 79th minute before Erdal Keser recovered the ball in Bayern’s half, pushed through their defence and put the hosts in front for the first time. It was the 81st minute and Dortmund looked to have turned the tide, but Karl-Heinz Rummenigge still had something to say on the matter just seconds later. Bayern’s then-striker and current CEO took advantage of a poor clearance in the box to round off the scoring at 4-4.

The boiling point that thrust Der Klassiker into the spotlight for many football fans across the globe came during Jürgen Klopp’s reign at Dortmund. Under the charismatic coach’s “heavy metal football” philosophy, die Schwarzgelben set the Bundesliga alight with a squad that mixed homegrown talent and exotic signings that had previously flown under the radar. They had won the club’s fourth Bundesliga title in the 2010/11 season and, with five games to go in the 2011/12 campaign, Dortmund were leading the standings again - three points ahead of Bayern.

That year’s virtual Bundesliga final was a tense affair. Although Bayern controlled possession, Dortmund had more chances. More importantly, they could rely on the killer instinct of Robert Lewandowski, who broke the deadlock in the 77th minute after cheekily deflecting an edge-of-the-box-effort from Kevin Großkreutz with his heel. That season proved to be a special one for the Polish striker as he got into double figures for the first time in his Bundesliga career - ending the campaign with 22 league goals for the champions.

3) Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund - MD10, 2014/15

In the 86th minute, Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller felled Arjen Robben in the box, gifting the visitors a golden opportunity to level from the spot. Just when it seemed that Bayern would be able to prolong the title fight, though, Weidenfeller made good on his mistake and saved Robben’s penalty.

The Dutchman had another chance to equalise from open play shortly after, but when Neven Subotic inadvertently headed against his own bar, Robben skied his attempt to force home a close-range rebound. In the end, an ecstatic Dortmund squad celebrated with their fans what surely felt like their second Bundesliga title on the bounce - a sensation that became reality only two matchdays later.

While our last entry was certainly a dark day for Bayern and Robben especially, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid winger eventually found redemption during Pep Guardiola's second season in Munich. With the Bavarians leading the standings, Dortmund were looking to turn around a campaign that was not boding well given they had only seven points after nine games. Klopp’s men needed to make a statement at the Allianz Arena, and the visitors did give their fans a glimmer of hope in the first half.

Although Bayern were the more dominant side, it was Marco Reus who opened the scoring for Dortmund after heading a cross from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang past Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer. After the break, however, Weidenfeller was tested like never before, saving shot after shot from Bayern. The hosts eventually capitalised through Lewandowski - who had just made the switch from Dortmund to Bayern that summer - when he thumped home left-footed from the edge of the area with 18 minutes left.

Watch: Highlights of Bayern's come-from-behind victory

2) Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Bayern Munich - DFB Cup Final, 2011/12

Despite the ongoing Bavarian siege, a draw was still very much on the cards before Subotic conceded a penalty by pulling Franck Ribery inside the box. Robben stepped up to the spot and Weidenfeller flew to his left, the same side that three seasons before meant that vital title-winning save. This time, though, Robben slotted the ball to the other corner.

Dortmund finished the matchday in the relegation zone, and would eventually fall to the bottom of the standings by the end of the first half of the season. A titanic effort in the new year saw them finish seventh and reach the DFB Cup final, but even that did not dissuade their legendary coach from resigning after seven seasons in charge. Guardiola's Bayern, meanwhile, were crowned Bundesliga champions once again.

If the league tie that resulted in Dortmund lifting the 2011/12 Meisterschale was the spark that lit Der Klassiker on fire, the 2012 DFB Cup final was the fuel that launched the rivalry to the stratosphere. A week after the Bundesliga had ended, both teams took to the field at Berlin’s Olympiastadion for a high-stakes rematch. With Dortmund’s first-ever domestic double on the line, Bayern approached the game as a chance to reassert their dominance ahead of the UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea in Munich a week later.

Die Schwarzgelben got off to a thundering start with Shinji Kagawa netting in the third minute after Jakub Blaszczykowski capitalised on a mistake in Bayern’s defence. Robben equalised from the penalty spot, but Mats Hummels repaid the Bavarians in kind by beating Neuer from 12 yards out. With the lead in their hands, Dortmund pressed on and Lewandowski nutmegged Neuer with a close-range shot to make it 3-1 in first-half injury time.

- © gettyimages / Lars Baron

1) Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Final, 2012/13

In the second half, the Polish goal machine continued to steal the spotlight with an inspired performance. In the 58th minute, he was once again allowed to shoot from inside the box and punished Bayern with his second goal of the night. Ribery reduced the deficit with a magical solo effort that made it 4-2, but any hopes of a comeback were soon dashed by the man of the hour. Lukasz Piszczek got the ball after a handling error by Neuer and crossed it to Lewandowski, who headed home to complete his hat-trick and seal a league and cup double for Dortmund.

After two years of Black-Yellow dominance, Jupp Heynckes and Bayern decided that enough was enough, and mounted one of the strongest campaigns in football history. They steamrollered the opposition in the Bundesliga, winning the title by 25 points. They beat Dortmund to the DFL Supercup title at the beginning of the season and also eliminated them in the DFB Cup quarter-finals. By the time the Champions League final rolled around, the balance after four meetings that season stood at two wins for Bayern and two draws.

Dortmund and Bayern met at Wembley Stadium in London to contest the first ever all-German continental final after eliminating Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively in the previous round. The local rivalry that had intensified in the last couple of years now stood as the centrepiece of European football. The battle on the field was electric and neither side gave the other an inch until Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring on the hour. Eight minutes later, Ilkay Gundogan equalised for Dortmund from the penalty spot.

- © gettyimages / Martin Rose

Fans at home and in the stands were already settling in for extra time when Robben steamed into the Dortmund box and tapped the ball past Weidenfeller to secure victory on the biggest stage of all. A few days later, the Bavarian giants secured a historic treble with a win over Stuttgart in the DFB Cup final. Dortmund’s revolution had pushed the biggest team in Germany beyond its limits, prompting a footballing renaissance in Munich that is still felt to this very day.

Jaime Duque Cevallos

Click here for more Bundesliga news, views and features!