Nowadays matches between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are standout fixtures on the footballing calendar, both at home in Germany and abroad. Although the ‘German Clasico’ may not hold the same social and political meaning as similar fixtures around the world, Der Klassiker is still a match-up worthy of the name. explains what the Klassiker is and why it’s become such a key fixture…

First of all, it’s worth noting that the Klassiker is similar only in name, not in nature to the Clasico of Spain or even the Superclasico of Argentina. Nor is it a derby like that of Milan, the Old Firm in Glasgow, the North-West derby in England or Dortmund’s Revierderby.

In Spain the rivalry is highly political with Real representing Spanish nationalism, conservatism and centralism on the national capital. Barcelona as a club have positioned themselves as a representative of Catalan nationalism and progressive beliefs in stark contrast to those from Madrid. El Clasico has become a vehicle for these political differences to be played out on the sporting field.

In Argentina, the rivalry is of national importance but centred on the capital of Buenos Aires. It is based more on proximity and social differences, with supporters of Boca Juniors traditionally seen as more working class, while those of River Plate are supposedly upper class.

Scotland’s Celtic and Rangers are divided on religious and sectarian lines, as well as geographical proximity in Glasgow. The latter is also key to the rivalries between those of AC Milan and Inter, or Liverpool and Manchester United, or Dortmund and Schalke, but that is exacerbated by on-field success on both the domestic and international stage.

Watch: Tifo Football explained the Klassiker ahead of the 100th Bundesliga meeting last season

It is that aspect of the rivalry that has seen fixtures between Bayern and Dortmund labelled as ‘Der Klassiker’, but it is a far more recent phenomenon. Continue reading

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