While Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich has taken on the moniker of “Der Klassiker” in the English-speaking press, the Bundesliga rivalry closest to my heart is Bayern München vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach. We start this story on March 10, 2007.
The final relegation
My first memories of the Bundesliga involve Gladbach fighting relegation; each win was extraordinarily sweet, particularly, a 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin, in that season. In this game, Nando Rafael, one of the silver linings of an otherwise terrible campaign, scored twice and Michael Delura added a third. There was a certain Marcell Jansen, who would move on to Bavaria later on, in that Gladbach side. On the opposition were two brothers that day, Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Gladbach would go on to pick up only one more win after that, losing both of their final two games. In fact, the last point they picked up in that campaign came on Match Day 32, in a 1-1 draw against Bayern München; a Roy Makaay opener was canceled out by Peer Kluge.
Halfway through the season, Gladbach tried to change managers to turn things around; club legend Jupp Heynckes, in his final stint as Gladbach manager, was fired and replaced with Jos Luhukay. Things did not turn around unfortunately.
However, even in their worst campaign in well over a decade, Gladbach picked up points against Bayern. Nevertheless, for a team so proud of their tradition, finishing eighteenth in a league with 18 sides must have been devastating. Fortunately, the Foals returned in the 2008-09 season, after winning the 2.Bundesliga. continue reading