The Greatest Bayern München vs. Borussia Dortmund Matches in History

Call it the “German Clasico” or “Klassiker” if you will.  Either way, it’s Germany’s biggest football match and the most anticipated game of the season.  With Bayern having established such a commanding lead atop the standings a win for Dortmund may be the only way back into the title race.  Current circumstances aside, this matchup has delivered some of the most tense and exciting in German football history.  Here are some of the most memorable and meaningful encounters between these two German giants.

Bayern München 11 – 1 Borussia Dortmund – 1971/72 – November 27, 1971 – Bundesliga – Matchday 16

It may not have been the most competitive match between the two but it symbolized both the peak of the great Beckenbauer/Müller/Maier era and one of the most dominant performances in Bundesliga history as well as arguably Borussia Dortmund’s worst spell in the league.  The great Gerd Müller scored four goals in this one, Bayern went on to win the league in dominant fashion and Borussia Dortmund were relegated.  Bayern further asserted their dominance by winning the next two league titles along with three consecutive European Cups while Dortmund lingered in the second division for the next four years. To this day it remains Bayern’s greatest Bundesliga win.  Dortmund on the other hand had to suffer another humiliating loss seven years later when they lost 12-0 to Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Bayern München 2 – 2 Borussia Dortmund – 1986/87 – August 9, 1986 – Bundesliga – Matchday 1

Even though this was a typically tight and exciting encounter between these two sides, it will probably be remembered most for one of the worst misses in Bundesliga history.  Frank Mill had just transfered to Borussia Dortmund and looked to open his account for the club in the season opener in Munich. Bayern went up 1-0 through Roland Wohlfarth in just the first minute.  Then Bayern pushed their backline up and suddenly a pass was played out of midfield and into space for an open Mill to run at Jean-Marie Pfaff.  Mill rounded Bayern’s goalkeeper and with ages to finish he waited long enough for Pfaff to recover and pressure him enough to hit the post from three meters out.  His coach, Reinhard Saftig, took him out in the 89th minute to protect him from an eager press but he would never be allowed to forget it years on.  Mill bounced back after his horrendous miss and with 17 goals helped Dortmund to a good fourth place finish and UEFA Cup berth but despite a career that included 123 goals, a Bronze Olympic and a World Cup winning medal, Mill will probably forever be remembered for this miss.

Borussia Dortmund 1 – 1 Bayern München – 1996/97 – April 19, 1997 – Bundesliga – Matchday 28

Two years earlier Andreas Möller garnered a reputation as a diver with his notorious dive against Karlsruher SC for which he was retroactively suspended by the DFB.  When Bayern visited Dortmund at the end of the 96/97 season it was fresh in Lothar Matthäus’s mind.  After each side scored a goal in the opening three minutes the game deteriorated into a series of fouls and rough play with Möller and Matthäus taking center stage.  The two in particular seemed to have it out for each other and at one point Matthäus got in Möller’s face and accused him of being more or less a crybaby.  Möller responded with a hand straight in Matthäus’s face.  The moment had nothing to do with football but it became one of the most memorable photographs German football history.

Borussia Dortmund 1 – 0 (a.e.t) Bayern München – 1997/98 – Champions League Quarter Final

It was the first time two German teams met in a knockout round in the Champions League and the only European encounter between these two sides to date.   After a tight 0-0 in Munich in the first leg the tie was to be decided in the hostile Westfalen stadium. Stephane Chapuisat decided another close match in stoppage time to send Dortmund to the semi finals once more.  The year before Dortmund had won the competition in remarkable fashion and now they did so while going through their biggest domestic competition.  More than anything the win gave further confirmed Dortmund’s upper hand over Bayern in European competition in the 1990’s.

Check out this historic moment in’s brilliant “Champions League Classics Series”

Borussia Dortmund  2 – 2 Bayern München  – 1998/99 – April 3, 1999 – Bundesliga – Matchday 24

Whether it was Kahn’s outrageous kung-fu kick against Stephane Chapuisait, his attempt to bite Heiko Herrlich, or saving Lars Ricken’s penalty, this match had it all. It became one of the most, if not the most memorable, Oliver Kahn moments and it was at the peak of the Bayern/Dortmund rivalry in the 1990’s. Heiko Herrlich put Dortmund up 2-0 in the first half before Bayern fought back tooth and nail to draw 2-2 in the end thanks to goals from Alexander Zickler and Carsten Jancker.  Of course, the game would not be a typical Bayern/Dortmund match without some red cards with Stefan Reuter and Samuel Kuffour.  Motivated by the intense rivalry between the two sides, Oliver Kahn was on fire in this game and salvaged an important point for Bayern who extend their lead atop the standings by 15 points and went on to win the title while Dortmund finished in fourth.

Borussia Dortmund 1 – 1 Bayern München – 2000/01 – April 7, 2001 – Bundesliga – Matchday 28

Perhaps the most tense and aggressive match ever between the two sides.  Bayern were leading the league and Dortmund hot on their tail had to win the match to keep up.  More than any previous meetings though, this game turned ugly quick and escalated into a pure hackfest. After Roque Santa Cruz gave Bayern an early lead Bixente Lizarazu got sent off.  Dortmund equalized through Fredi Bobic before Stefan Effenberg was sent off around the hour mark for elbowing Dede, taunting Dortmund supporters as he walked off.  Referee Hartmut Strampe was not finished though and by the end of the match handed out two reds, one yellow-red and twelve other yellow cards in a very heated and physical affair where the football became almost secondary.  Uli Hoeness berated referee Strampe, Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer had a go at Hoeness.  In other words, a typical Dortmund/Bayern affair.

Bayern München 1 – 3 Borussia Dortmund – 2010/11 – February 26, 2011 – Bundesliga – Matchday 24

Dortmund won their first encounter that season 2-0 at home before traveling to Munich where they had not won in almost 20 years.  A sense of a power shift in German football was in the air but Dortmund needed to get over their hump to make the final step up. What followed was one of the best team performances of the season as an energetic young Dortmund outclassed the defending champions in their own stadium. Lucas Barrios, Nuri Sahin and ironically former Bayern youth product Mats Hummels were on the scoresheet for Jürgen Klopp’s team.  Sahin proved why he was considered by many the best player that season and the win put Dortmund on course for the title with a commanding 16 point lead over Bayern.  More than any other encounter before, this game signaled an evident power shift and announced Dortmund’s arrival as a title contender in the Bundesliga. It was Dortmund’s first win in Munich in 19 years and they went on to beat Bayern four more times while successfully defending their title the following season.

Borussia Dortmund  5 – 2 Bayern München – 2011/12 – May 12, 2012 – German Cup Final

It was the peak of Dortmund’s dominance over Bayern under Klopp.  The win was an unprecedented fifth consecutive for Dortmund over Bayern and confirmed their first domestic double in club history. It also capped off one of the great seasons in German football history and one of the most exciting Cup finals in recent memory.  For Bayern it symbolized a forgettable season in which they ended up runners up in three competitions, finishing second in the league and beaten later that month in the Champions League final by Chelsea.

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

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