It has long since been considered the biggest fixture in German football, but the first edition of Der Klassiker in 2017-18 will have added significance in the title race.
Bayern Munich visit Borussia Dortmund on Saturday holding a three-point lead over their hosts at the top of the Bundesliga table, Jupp Heynckes having returned them to form after Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking.
Ahead of what promises to be another extremely intriguing tussle, we look back at some of the most memorable games in the history of the fixture.
Dortmund 1-1 Bayern, April 2001
Ill-discipline is often something we expect from rivalries, but Bayern’s trip to Dortmund in April 2001 went well beyond that.
There were red cards shown to Bixente Lizarazu, Stefan Effenberg and Evanilson, while another 10 players – eight of whom played for Bayern – received bookings.
Effenberg’s departure was particularly memorable, as he taunted Dortmund fans on his way off the pitch after being dismissed for elbowing Dede.
The football effectively became a sideshow, with Roque Santa Cruz and Fredi Bobic scoring the goals, and a war of words ensued after the match, with Uli Hoeness and Matthias Sammer heavily involved.
Dortmund 1-0 Bayern, April 2012
Although Dortmund had won the Bundesliga the season before, there was something even more satisfying about their title triumph in 2011-12, as a 1-0 win over Bayern in April essentially clinched successive crowns.
Bayern travelled to Signal Iduna Park knowing that beating Dortmund was to be their best shot at usurping them at the top, but Robert Lewandowski’s winner 13 minutes from time proved decisive.
Arjen Robben did have one final chance, as he was tripped in the area and awarded a penalty in the 86th minute, but Roman Weidenfeller denied him and Dortmund ultimately marched on to the title.
Dortmund 1-1 Bayern, April 1997
Similarly to their April 2001 meeting, Dortmund v Bayern almost exactly four years earlier is remembered more for shenanigans involving a couple of star players than it is for the football on offer.
At the time, Dortmund’s Andreas Moller had something of a reputation for diving and had even been suspended for such behaviour, and in Lothar Matthaus he faced someone eager to put him straight.
Matthaus confronted his rival and made a crying gesture, to which Moller responded by pushing back with a hand to the face. Photographs of the incident have become the fixture’s most iconic.
Dortmund 1-5 Bayern, September 2009
Thomas Muller has gone on to become something of a legend for Bayern and Germany, winning almost everything in sight, and perhaps rather fittingly it was in Der Klassiker in September 2009 when he truly announced himself.
Bayern already had the match wrapped up after Franck Ribery’s goal 25 minutes from time put them 3-1 up, but Muller – a half-time introduction for Hamit Altintop – stole the show late on, scoring twice to open his account in the Bundesliga.
Muller went on to score 13 league goals that term.
Dortmund 0-3 Bayern, November 2013
Dortmund fans may not be too anti-Mario Gotze these days, but when he departed for Bayern in July 2013, it is fair to say that the midfielder ruffled a few feathers.
And he compounded the anger of Dortmund fans in his first return to Signal Iduna Park in November that year.
Shortly after his 56th-minute entrance for Mario Mandzukic, the German provided the perfect response to the deafening jeers, breaking the deadlock and sending Bayern on their way to a 3-0 win.
He now finds himself back at Dortmund, but he has endured a host of fitness issues over the last two years, preventing him from fulfilling his potential.
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