German term Der Klassiker directly translates to El Clasico in Spanish. The term thus needs no introduction to sports fans across the globe who have been watching the Real Madrid-Barcelona rivalry in Spain.
Der Klassiker is the German version of the Clasico, featuring the country’s two most successful football clubs: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Unlike the Clasico or other big derbies around the world, Der Klassiker is a much more modern rivalry and doesn’t have any political or socio-economic history. It’s a pure football rivalry that has grown since the 1990s.
Indeed, when you consider Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have won 21 out of the last 25 Bundesliga titles.
History of Der Klassiker
The first meeting between the two sides happened two years after the start of the Bundesliga in 1965 when Dortmund won 2-0. Bayern recorded their first win over Dortmund a year later when the Bavarians triumphed 1-0 in Munich. Dortmund won four out of the first five matches before Bayern Munich began to dominate.
Dortmund were weakened and got relegated from the Bundesliga in 1972. Bayern condemned Dortmund to an 11-1 defeat that season. It remains Bayern’s biggest win in Bundesliga history. During Dortmund’s absence Bayern didn’t just complete a hat-trick of Bundesliga titles, but also scooped three straight European crowns.
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After being promoted to the top division again in 1977, Dortmund beat Bayern Munich 2-1 to record their first win over the Bavarians in ten years.
However, it took Dortmund over a decade to be competitive again at the top end of the Bundesliga. In 1995 and 1996, Dortmund won the Bundesliga again and also won the Champions League a year later. In 1998, Dortmund also knocked out Bayern Munich from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.
After the season, Bayern signed Dortmund coach Ottmar Hitzfeld as tempers flared during the clash between the two clubs during the next season.
Then again in 2002, Dortmund ended Bayern Munich’s three-year hold over the Bundesliga as the rivalry intensified.
The Dortmund-Bayern Munich rivarly was once again reignited in 2011 when Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund that caught the eye of entire Europe with their attractive brand of football, and denied a star-studded Bayern Munich the title. A year later, they defended their crown and also smashed Bayern Munich 5-2 in the German Cup final.
In 2013, Bayern signed Mario Gotze, Dortmund’s star player, triggering an exodus of players to Bavaria. Bayern Munich edged Dortmund to the Bundesliga and also beat them 2-1 in a tightly-contested Champions League final at Wembley.
In the summer, the poaching continued as Bayern signed striker Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund to further weaken the men in yellow. Three years later, center-back Mats Hummels also followed his teammates to the Allianz Arena
Since the 2012 triumph, Bayern Munich have re-established their hold over the Bundesliga winning seven straight titles, but Dortmund have remained their toughest challengers in Germany.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have faced each other 125 times with the former winning on 59 occasions, the latter winning 33 times.
Bayern Munich-Borussia Dortmund Head to Head
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More importantly, Dortmund have lost the last two league meetings against Bayern by a combined total of 9-0. In the first meeting of the current season, Bayern thrashed Dortmund 4-0 to follow up on the 5-0 win from last season. At the return leg on Tuesday, Dortmund will be looking to heal their wounded pride apart from reigniting the title race.
What’s at stake?
As Bayern Munich travel to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, the destiny of the 2019-’20 Bundesliga title could become clear. Bayern, the defending champions, lead Dortmund by just four points at the top.
For Dortmund who have a bunch of young attacking talent on display in the form of Erling Haaland, Thorgan Hazard, Jaden Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro, a win could boost their chances of ending Bayern’s dominance in the Bundesliga.
For Bayern, a win away at Dortmund would all but kill the title race as a contest. In recent decades, there has always been a lot at stake in Der Klassiker but this season’s contest could be defining one not just for the present but also for the future.
Who is saying what
“We don’t really know how to get into these games without spectators, but I expect us, and myself, to go to our limits anyway,” Muller told Sky after the thumping of Frankfurt that kept Bayern’s lead to four points.
“Of course, we’d like to have the fans there. There’s nothing more beautiful than playing these matches against Dortmund at the Allianz Arena or in Dortmund,” he added.
“But that’s our job, and we’re going to show that even without spectators we’re capable of playing football with passion”.
Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick says the absence of spectators for Tuesday’s top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash at Borussia Dortmund will be a “missing factor”.
“It is a very special game,” Flick said on Monday, with Bayern heading to Dortmund with a four-point lead.
“As a coach, there is no question that the fans are a missing factor. The atmosphere can inspire any team. It is about how you can cope (without the support),” Flick added.
“You have to accept the current situation and can’t look for an excuse.”
Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said: “We have to believe in ourselves, we can’t make simple mistakes in possession of the ball. We also have to endure the phases when Bayern dominate. We can always score goals and beat them.”
Where to watch
Bundesliga’s potential title decider Der Klassiker will be telecast live in India on Star Sports 1, Star Sports Select 2/HD and Disney+ Hotstar on 26th May 2020 at 10 PM (IST).
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