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Will Der Klassiker Decide Title Race?

Der Klassiker

Tomorrow Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund meet in potential title decider. The matchup between first and second place in the Bundesliga is called Der Klassiker or the “German Clasico”.

Since the foundation of the Bundesliga in 1963, they are two of the most successful teams in German football, having won a combined total of 21 of the past 25 Bundesliga titles as of 2019. The two teams also met in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final.

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick says that the latest Der Klassiker is not a title decider, despite the fact that a win for leaders Bayern at the Allianz Arena would move them seven points clear of Dortmund with six games left.

But Flick said: “Regardless of the result, nothing will be decided.”

Der Klassiker Match Preview
Bayern do not have to take any risks early given their four-point cushion in the Bundesliga title race, and would probably privately take a point beforehand and move on.

This is a golden opportunity for Dortmund, so they can afford to play with more freedom and have a real go at Bayern in the knowledge that if they draw or lose, the title looks unlikely.

BVB looked brilliant in their 4-0 demolition of Schalke and though it was a more stodgy display at Wolfsburg, they still got the job done with a 2-0 win.

Bayern showed real weaknesses in the air against Eintracht Frankfurt, with a comfy 3-0 lead becoming a nervy 3-2 before the Bavarians saw the result out for a 5-2 win – a victory that looks much more comfortable on paper than it really was for Hans-Dieter Flick.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre will look to exploit space at set-pieces here, but Bayern have experience in their ranks, and recent performances point towards a draw.

If either side gets an early goal, then all bets are off – but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Dortmund lead, Bayern level, and then a nervy final 20 minutes.

Is Der Klassiker a real rivalry?
A clasico usually refers to a match between two historical rivals. That is not the case with Bayern v Dortmund as the first match between the two clubs was only in 1965, a a 2–0 win for Dortmund in Munich. There is no disputing that there are other more historical derbies in Germany including Dortmund’s Revierderby with FC Schalke 04 and the various Bavarian football derbies involving Bayern Munich and 1. FC Nuremberg.

However Bayern v Dortmund is a modern rivalry as when the two sides meet, there is usually a trophy at stake,

When did Der Klassiker become a rivalry?
The rivalry between the clubs grew during the 1990s, as Dortmund’s stature increased to challenge perennial title favorites Bayern, winning two Bundesliga titles in 1994–95 and 1995–96.

At the end of the 1996-97 season, Dortmund won the 1997 UEFA Champions League Final which happened to be played at the Olympiastadion, Bayern’s home ground.

In the early 2000s both clubs remained successful, as Bayern lost one Champions League final (1999) then won another (2001) in addition to more domestic success, while Dortmund won the 2001–02 Bundesliga and reached the UEFA Cup final the same year.

On 19 April 2008, the two sides clashed in the 2008 DFB-Pokal Final for the first time that took place in Berlin.where a Luca Toni double gave Bayern the trophy.

Dortmund revival
By 2010, Dortmund had put together a strong squad, including Mats Hummels, Mario Götze, Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski who led the club to the 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga titles; it was the first time any club other than Bayern won back-to-back championships since Dortmund in the mid-1990s.

Dortmund also claimed the first double of their history by beating Bayern 5–2 in the 2012 DFB-Pokal Final with a Lewandowski hat-trick, which was also their fifth consecutive win over the opponents.

Der Klassiker Champions League final at Wembley
The rivalry between the two clubs arguably peaked in 2013 when they met in the UEFA Champions League Final at Wembley Stadium.

The two German clubs had eliminated the two Spanish contenders, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in the semi-finals, leading to the term “German Clasico” term first being used at that time, based on the El Clásico between those two Spanish clubs.

In the first all-German European final, Arjen Robben scored a dramatic 89th-minute winner at Wembley. Bayern would wrap up the first Treble in their history a week later in the 2013 DFB-Pokal Final.

Overall Der Klassiker Records
Played: 125
Bayern Wins: 59
Dortmund Wins: 33
Draws: 33