Der Klassiker is part of 90min’s 50 Biggest Derbies in the World Series
Bayern Munich might be Germany’s real superpower, but Borussia Dortmund’s transfer ethos has seen an incredible amount of players breaking through at the Westfalenstadion before moving on to bigger things elsewhere – sometimes, even in Bavaria.
But how are we going to pick our Klassiker XI?
Well, it’s not just the biggest names. You’ll see some of the best, of course, but there’ll also be some players who had some huge moments in Der Klassiker, as well as a few of those who’ve crossed the divide between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
GK – Roman Weidenfeller (Dortmund)
There are quite a few different options that could make our Klassiker XI, and while the likes of Manuel Neuer or Sepp Meier might have had a bigger impact on the sport as a whole, no goalkeeper has made such a big impact in this fixture like Roman Weidenfeller.
In the 2011/12 season, with Borussia Dortmund looking to retain their Bundesliga title, Weidenfeller saved a late penalty in the second Klassiker of the season, which is remembered as the moment Jürgen Klopp’s side really won the title.
RB – Philipp Lahm (Bayern)
Despite playing through Borussia Dortmund’s most successful stretch in the top flight, Philipp Lahm didn’t struggle all that often in Der Klassiker.
In 32 appearances, Lahm ended up on the winning side on 17 occasions. He never scored against Borussia Dortmund, but with a tally of seven assists, the former Germany international was always a force to be reckoned with.
CB – Mats Hummels (Dortmund, Bayern)
Mats Hummels didn’t cross the divide once. In fact, he didn’t cross it twice either.
The former Bayern Munich academy star first joined Borussia Dortmund in 2008, arriving on loan before completing a €4m move to the Westfalenstadion the following year. Hummels returned to Bavaria in 2016, but moved back west three years later.
It’s not just Hummels’ constant switching between the two which makes him a guaranteed starter in this team either. He’s played in 31 Klassikers, scoring five times – three against Bayern Munich, two for them – and getting an assist.
CB – Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern)
Franz Beckenbauer wasn’t one of the best defenders of his generation. He was, without question, the greatest of all time.
Der Kaiser only ever played against Borussia Dortmund 16 times, but he was involved in three goals in Bayern Munich’s biggest ever win – 11-1 against the Black and Yellows – and he finished his career with four assists in Der Klassiker, which was more than he managed in any other fixture.
LB – Paul Breitner (Bayern)
Paul Breitner is remembered just as well today for his memorable haircut as he was during his playing career for his political beliefs, but the man nicknamed Der Afro, as it turns out, was quite a good footballer too.
Breitner started his career in defence and went on to move into midfield, where he formed an impressive partnership with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
His best years were in the 1970s, but it was actually in the latter stages of his career where he really started to make an impact against Borussia Dortmund, scoring five goals and picking up two assists from the 1979/80 season until he hung up his boots three years later.
RM – Arjen Robben (Bayern)
Although Weidenfeller came up clutch with a penalty save for arguably the biggest individual moment in a domestic Klassiker, Arjen Robben – who missed that spot-kick in 2012 – came up trumps a year later in the Champions League.
He was involved in 16 goals against Borussia Dortmund in his career, but it’s one deft touch of the ball late on at Wembley which Robben is so widely remembered for, scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final.
CM – Matthias Sammer (Dortmund)
It certainly came as a bit of a surprise when he pipped Ronaldo Nazário to the Ballon d’Or in 1996, but Matthias Sammer is the most recent winner of the award to play for either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.
The defensive midfielder had come off the back of an outstanding season with Dortmund and Germany when he won the award, and although he only played for the Black and Yellows, he did go on to spend time behind the scenes at Bayern Munich once he retired.
CM – Thomas Müller (Bayern)
There isn’t anyone who sums up Bayern Munich quite like Thomas Müller.
The Raumdeuter isn’t just a club legend due to the fact he’s an academy graduate, as Müller’s also had quite the career and, if the 2019/20 season is anything to go by, the best might still be yet to come from the 30-year-old.
He’s no stranger to Der Klassiker either. In 33 games against Borussia Dortmund, Müller has scored 10 goals and picked up seven assists, including in a DFB-Pokal final and two German Super Cup finals.
LM – Mario Götze (Dortmund, Bayern)
It’s easy to forget given Mario Götze’s health problems, but the Germany international was one of the most sought after footballers on the planet when he broke through at Borussia Dortmund – gaining similar levels of attention to Lionel Messi at Barcelona.
His €37m move to Bayern Munich in 2013 made one hell of a statement, not least because the transfer was leaked some months before it was actually completed, but after a difficult three years in Bavaria, Götze returned to Borussia Dortmund.
Götze’s been involved in eight Klassiker goals during his career, a combined stat which he’s only bettered in four other fixtures.
ST – Gerd Müller (Bayern)
Gerd Müller certainly wasn’t the most complete footballer to ever play the game. But Der Bomber might just be the best goalscorer.
Inside the penalty area, Müller was more lethal than anything we’ve ever seen, setting records left, right and centre thanks to his ability to get the ball in the back of the net.
He’s still the top goalscorer in Bayern Munich’s history, as well as the Bundesliga’s, and until very recently he was also the all-time record goalscorer in Der Klassiker.
ST – Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund, Bayern)
The person who took the title of Der Klassiker’s top goalscorer?
Of course, it was Robert Lewandowski.
The Pole came through at Borussia Dortmund at time where an incredible recruitment policy created a title-winning side, but Lewandowski has reached new, unthinkable heights since crossing the divide to Bayern Munich.
As well as being the Bundesliga’s most prolific foreign player, Lewandowski has scored 23 goals in Der Klassiker across all competitions in just 33 games, starring in just over 20% of all the wins there have ever been between Germany’s two super clubs.
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