The German giants have seen a number of players switching sides among them over the years.
Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich are two clubs which have profoundly shaped the Bundesliga, and both have had their fair share of legendary players. With these two juggernauts of German football constantly competing for the Meisterschale trophy, it is no surprise that there are several players who have crossed the divide and represented both clubs. Here we take a look at the biggest stars, past and present, who have played on both sides(as featured on Bundesliga.com).
When Dortmund and Bayern meet again in the Bundesliga on Saturday, one player is almost certain to leave his mark on the game: Robert Lewandowski. The UEFA Player of the Year won all there is to win last season and has already set a new all-time record by scoring ten goals in the first five games of the 2020-21 season. Given his constant success and high performance at FC Bayern, it is easy to forget that Lewandowski kicked off his career in the Bundesliga on the opposite side of this season’s Klassiker. In his time at Dortmund from 2010 to 2014, Lewandowski celebrated two Bundesliga championships and even beat FC Bayern five times in the Bundesliga before switching allegiance. On Saturday, however, you can be sure that he won’t show any mercy against his former side, as Lewandowski strives for his next record and the next victory for his team – FC Bayern Munich.
Mats Hummels is another example of a player who crossed the divide, and arguably has the closest connection to both teams. Having played in the Bayern youth teams, he celebrated his breakthrough in the Bundesliga while on loan at Borussia Dortmund and eventually transferred to the Black and Yellows permanently. In 2016, following two Bundesliga titles, victory in the DFB Cup and a Champions League Final loss to FC Bayern of all clubs, Hummels transferred back to the club of his youth in Munich. However, as football fans are aware, this is not the end of the story. His second spell at FC Bayern was followed by his second spell at Dortmund when Hummels moved back to Signal Iduna Park in 2019. There, he has emerged as a leader in a young and exciting squad – ready to take on Bayern on Saturday. A defender who knows how to hit the back of the net, Hummels scored twice on Matchday 6 and will look to strike again this weekend.
Next to those legends of the present, there are many more who shaped this classic sports rivalry between the two teams, which has been reinforced by player transfers – especially when a key player was snatched away by the other club. Thomas Helmer, for example, joined FC Bayern from Dortmund under controversial circumstances. Dortmund did not want to let go of one of their best players, who would obviously strengthen their opponent. However, Helmer’s mind was made up and he was eventually able to complete the switch.
However, examples such as Hummels show that even though a move between these two clubs might be controversial at the time, the players nor the club look back in anger. Mario Götze is a prime example of a player who transferred in the height of his career from Dortmund to their Bavarian rivals and yet he was welcomed back by Borussia’s fans upon his later return to Dortmund. Vice versa, Christian Nerlinger joined Dortmund following years of success at FC Bayern Munich but, after his career as a player had ended, he came back to FC Bayern as Sporting Director.
‘Der Klassiker’ between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich has earned its title – it showcases the very best of Bundesliga football and highlights the world-class stars fighting for the title. This year’s matchup features some of the greatest players in the world, including Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Gio Reyna and Manuel Neuer. The stage is set for the next chapter.