Borussia Dortmund have had a relatively poor season so far, and currently wallow in 8th place in the league and 16 points away from the Champions League places for next year. It's been such a poor season in fact, that Jurgen Klopp announced his intention to leave Dortmund at the end of the campaign. This means, then, that tonight's 'Der Klassiker' is Klopp's last ever Bayern Munich-Borussia Dortmund derby, and possibly the derby with the most riding on it emotionally. 'Der Klassiker' has been the greatest Germany derby for the last few decades, but it wasn't always like this. To better understand how the rivalry got to its current level of tension and hostility, we've taken a look at the 5 defining moments of the Dortmund-Bayern rivalry.
The 'Foul Fest' of April 2001
Since Borussia Dortmund's rise to prominence in 1994, Bayern Munich had to consider their German rivals as direct competitors for the Bundesliga title. Dortmund's back-to-back league wins between 1994 and 1996 showed Bayern Munich that they were here to stay, and subsequent matches since then fostered extra hostility. This came to a head in 2001 when Dortmund hosted Bayern in the league in what turned out to be an extremely violent affair, with 13 yellows and 3 reds being issued during the match. Unsurprisingly, the football was an afterthought, and the tie finished 1-1.
Bayern's raid of Dortmund's stars
Dortmund's rise to the top has turned out to be quite fleeting. Their consecutive Bundesliga wins in 2010-11 and 2011-12, whilst showcasing the impressive and enviable progress of Dortmund as both a team and organisation, did little to prevent their stars Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski from jumping ship to their Bavarian rivals. This hurt the Dortmund faithful, particular the sale of Götze who they viewed as the homegrown jewel in their crown, and the fact that both players scored against their old side on their first return to Signal Iduna Park did not help matters.
Smooth Sahin sinks Bayern in 2011
Dortmund's impressive and successful campaign in 2010-2011 was no better encapsulated than in their calm 3-1 demolition of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. The victory gave them the motivation and momentum to go on and finish as Champions at the end of the season. Klopp's side went about their business against Bayern with an attractive ruthlessness, perfectly summarised by Sahin's wonderful finish to Dortmund's rapid counter-attack.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund, Champions League Final 2013.
This match was the pinnacle of the Dortmund-Bayern rivalry. It was a true head-over-heart final for the neutral. It was Bayern, the Bundesliga Champions and powerhouses of Germany, finalist in 3 of the last 4 Champions League Finals, against Dortmund, the impassioned underdog, really making a name for themselves across Europe, and winning fans over with their dedication and support. The Final was confirmation that German football was amongst the best in Europe, and that Bayern and Dortmund were rivals with a lot to fight over. Not only this, but a few hours before the Final, Bayern confirmed that Götze had decided to join them for the next season. Cue the dramatic opera music and Martin Tyler commentary...goosebumps.
Dortmund thump Bayern & confirm Elite status in 2012
In the German Cup Final in 2012, Dortmund sealed the League and Cup Double against Bayern in emphatic fashion. Beating Bayern was not the surprise for Dortmund (it started to become a regularity by this point), it was the way they did it. The team that had grown up together, managed by their father-figure coach Jurgen Klopp, won convincingly against the most sucessful club in German history in fron of their Yellow Wall... it was the icing on an already very sweet cake.