The legacy of this fixture consists of a fierce rivalry on and off the pitch.
The Der Klassiker has undoubtedly been the biggest and most anticipated fixture in German football over the last few decades. The excitement among fans for this high voltage game is top-notch, as stadiums are always full to the rafters. The energy and excitement often get resonated onto the pitch among the players.
Therefore, over the years, we have seen players get charged up ahead of the fixture with the motive of proving themselves on the big stage. There have also been occasional incidents of tempers flaring or a player simply producing a moment of magic.
So, we take a look at the top five iconic moments in Der Klassiker history.
5. Arjen Robben penalty miss and Neven Subotic retaliation (2011-12)
It was in April 2012 when both the sides met for an epic Der Klassiker, as Dortmund were leading the league three points ahead of their rivals. However, Bayern had the chance to pull them back with a win or at least give themselves a chance with a draw, with only four fixtures remaining.
BVB started the game brightly as Robert Lewandowski scored the iconic backheel goal past Manuel Neuer. It was a feisty affair and both sides were not ready to give an inch. However, Bayern had the chance to equalize when Arjen Robben was awarded a penalty. The Dutchman was brought down in the penalty area.
Robben stepped up to take the spot-kick and surprisingly it was saved by Roman Weidenfeller. Immediately, former BVB defender Neven Subotic ran towards a dejected Robben and started screaming to his face. It was the end of the road for Bayern in that season, as the Black and Yellow went on to lift the Bundesliga.
4. Dortmund hold Bayern to multiple draws in their treble-winning season (2012-13)
The 2012-13 season was iconic in each and every sense for the Bavarians, as they won the historic treble. While they defeated Dortmund in the Champions League and also in DFB Pokal, they failed to get over the line against them in the Bundesliga. Jurgen Klopp’s men held Bayern to two 1-1 draws in the league that season.
The first encounter saw Bayern taking the lead early through Toni Kroos, as BVB came back when Mario Gotze calmly controlled the ball from Marco Reus’ corner and volleyed it home to level the scores and ensure a draw.
It was a great strike and months later Bayern Munich came knocking at Dortmund’s door to secure the signature of the young German midfielder, as they paid his release clause and struck a defining blow to their rivals at the time. Since then, Gotze is one of the few players to feature for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
3. Arjen Robben with the reply on the biggest stage (2012-13)
The 2011-12 season was a tough one for Robben, as he missed the crucial penalty in the Der Klassiker and also messed it up against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final. The Dutchman was physically and mentally breaking down, as he was criticized for choking in difficult moments. However, he came back with a winning goal in the Dfb Pokal quarterfinal against BVB, knocking them out of the Cup.
But, the big statement came a few weeks later when he stepped up on the biggest stage- the Champions League final. Bayern were up against arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund and yet again it was a very closely contested match. Mario Mandzukic gave Bayern the lead in the 60th minute, but a few minutes later, Dante conceded a cheap penalty which was converted by Ilkay Gundogan.
As the match looked like rolling into extra-time, Robben stepped up. The Dutchman’s silky footwork allowed him to dance past the Dortmund defence, as he calmly tucked it past Weidenfeller to re-take the lead and power Bayern to Champions League glory.
2. Ecstatic Oliver Kahn’s aggressive attitude lifts Bayern Munich (1998-99)
Oliver Kahn was an extremely emotional player and apart from his stunning saves, he is also known for his fiery attitude on the pitch. BVB were 2-0 up, Bayern defender Sammy Kuffour had been sent off and Kahn was furious.
In the moment, he completely lost his mind as the then Germany no.1 chased Heiko Herrlich after the BVB attacker challenged for a high ball near the penalty area. Kahn pushed him, then aggressively buried his head into Herrlich’s neck and the duo exchanged a few words.
The action which was rather unsportsmanlike did motivate a 10-man Bayern to come back and end it in a 2-2 draw. However, that was not the end, as Kahn later came off his line and leapt towards BVB striker Stephane Chapuisat with his outstretched leg. Chapuisat was lucky that he managed to evade Kahn, as it could have resulted in a serious injury for him.
1. The inception of Thomas Muller in Bundesliga (2009-10)
One of Bayern Munich’s historic routs in Der Klassiker has to be the 5-1 win over BVB in 2009 during Louis van Gaal’s era. It was a very important game for the Dutchman and more important for a 20-year-old Thomas Muller, who went on to become a star in world football. Muller had played a few matches here and there and was still a very unknown talent ahead of this game.
He came on as a second half substitute for Bayern and had an immediate impact on the play. His first and Bayern’s fourth goal came after the youngster was quick to pounce on a poor clearance, as he volleyed it home. His second came close to full-time and it was one of the best strikes of his career, as he blasted it into the top corner from 25 yards.
It was the game where Muller announced himself and gradually became a starter for Van Gaal. He also made his German national team debut and within 10 months, he won the Golden Boot at the FIFA World Cup.