Kung-fu kicks, biggest Bundesliga wins, Champions League final drama and Auba vs. Lewy: Saturday’s encounter between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will surely add another intriguing chapter to Der Klassiker folklore.
1) Balance of play
bundesliga.com has delved into the past of one of European football’s most mouthwatering match-ups, dusting off the history books to bring you ten facts that will keep your excitement on the boil as we continue the countdown to Der Klassiker.
The Matchday 11 encounter will be the duo’s 96th Bundesliga meeting with Bayern having the edge over Dortmund, winning 43 times to BVB’s 24. Goal difference in those games is heavily weighted in favour of the reigning champions, who have netted 179 times to Dortmund’s 118.
2) What’s mine is yours
After emerging as Bayern’s most threatening challengers in the 1990s, Dortmund went through a lull before Jürgen Klopp revived them, forging BVB into perennial contenders and pulling them alongside Bayern at the pinnacle of German football. The pair do not like sharing: in the past eight years, Bayern (six times) and Dortmund (twice) have jealously guarded the Bundesliga title for themselves, while they have picked up 14 out of a possible 16 titles between the league and DFB Cup since 2009.
3) Lewy, meet Auba
While the two teams take top billing, the central sub-plot is the duel-at-distance between Robert Lewandowski and the man who succeeded him as Dortmund’s main source of goals, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Lewandowski’s league-high 30 goals to win the Torjägerkanone in 2015/16 were surpassed by Aubameyang’s 31 last term, making the Gabon international the most prolific foreign-born striker in a single Bundesliga season. Since 2013 when Aubameyang joined his Polish counterpart in Dortmund, they have scored a total of 202 goals (Lewandowski 107, Aubameyang 95). Who will be celebrating another strike at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday?
4) First date fail for Der Kaiser
The heavyweight duo first went toe-to-toe in the Bundesliga on 16 October 1965 in Munich. The game went Dortmund’s way thanks to two goals from Reinhold Wosab while a promising Bayern youngster named Franz Beckenbauer missed a penalty. Wonder what became of him…
5) Would you pass me the soap, Bixente
With passions Himalayan high, the game has, unsurprisingly, set off its fair share of fireworks. Dortmund’s giant Czech striker Jan Koller earned himself a place in kicker magazine’s team of the week as a goalkeeper after replacing the red-carded Jens Lehmann — and not conceding a goal — in Bayern’s 2-1 Klassiker win of November 2002. Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn’s infamous kung-fu kick on Stephane Chapuisat and attempted bite on Heiko Herrlich (see above) set the tone for April 1999’s tempestuous 2-2 draw, but the April 2001 meeting was undoubtedly the most fiery with its blur of ten yellow cards making it the most ill-disciplined Bundesliga game on record. Bayern were shown eight, and had Bixente Lizarazu and Stefan Effenberg sent off while Dortmund’s Evanilson also had an early bath in the 1-1 draw.
6) Bank of Bayern
Despite the rivalry that has grown fiercely in recent years in particular, the clubs have close ties. In 2005, with Dortmund in financial disarray, Bayern came to their rescue, providing a €2 million loan to insulate their fellow competitors from insolvency.
7) Single or return?
Money is not the only thing that has made the journey between the two clubs. left Dortmund for Bayern in 2013 only to return in 2016, passing Mats Hummels en route. Unwanted as a youngster at Bayern, Hummels made his name at Dortmund and then a triumphant return to Munich as a double Bundesliga winner and world champion in 2016. Another former BVB-man, Lewandowski, has excelled at Bayern, and notably — along with Götze — found the net in a 5-1 Bayern Klassiker win in October 2015. Hummels too had scored as Dortmund won 3-1 in Munich in February 2011, their first triumph in Bavaria in 20 years and a key victory behind the first of their back-to-back title wins.
8) Eleventh Heaven…or Hell
Many of the fans inside the Signal Iduna Park or watching around the world – and certainly Christian Pulisic – were not born for what was a classic Klassiker on 27 November 1971. They will certainly have heard about it though, and Dortmund fans, look away now! Hosts Bayern triumphed 11-1 to record their biggest Bundesliga win, still a club record.
Klopp masterminded one of Dortmund’s most famous Klassiker triumphs that the now-Liverpool boss classed as “the most exceptional moment in our history.” Already Bundesliga champions, Die Schwarzgelben faced Bayern in Berlin in the DFB Cup final. Ninety minutes later, fuelled by a magnificent Lewandowski hat-trick, BVB lifted the trophy, though the emphatic 5-2 scoreline probably stung Bayern even more.
Bayern did take sweet revenge though, and on the biggest stage of all. In the first-ever all-German UEFA Champions League final in 2012/13, Arjen Robben’s 89th-minute goal left Bayern on top of Europe for the fifth time thanks to a 2-1 win at Wembley. That was Jupp Heynckes’ last game against Dortmund, who are also the only team not to lose to the returning Bayern boss in his last 20 league matches. Will new BVB boss Peter Bosz – in his very first Klassiker – get one over on Don Jupp?