My probably bad catch: RB Leipzig – not Dortmund – should be Bayern Munich’s biggest rivals

At Bavarian Football Works, we use this mid-season break to expose ourselves (phrasing!). When working on Bayern Munich news and opinions 24/7, 365 days a year, all staff develop very good – and very, very bad – holds. Whether these takes are relevant to past, present, or future opinions, we’re going to tell you about some of the silly things we think about as part of a series. Without further ado, BFW will let it all hang out (damn! Say again!).


Bayern Munich have seen many rivals come and go throughout their history. While the ideal rivalry in football is a local derby, Bayern’s local rivals most often play outside the Bundesliga. The Munich Derby with Munich 1860 now takes place in 3. Liga, although between 1860 and Bayern II. The Bavarian derby between Bayern and 1. FC Nürnberg was once the most important rivalry in the Bundesliga, but FCN have struggled to stand up for the past decade. In fact, the only other Bavarian team currently playing in the Bundesliga is Augsburg. It’s probably a pretty big game every time for Augsburg, but I don’t think many would see it as a big rivalry between the two clubs.

Since Bayern established themselves as the dominant force in the Bundesliga, other teams from all over Germany have established themselves as rivals. The fiercest opponents of decades past have been teams like 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Hamburg, Schalke and Werder Bremen. These teams are either in lower divisions or on the verge of relegation each year. Teams like Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach have also given punches to Bayern, but Bayern continue to keep them at bay. However, most would agree that for the last decades Bayern’s main rivals have been Borussia Dortmund.

FC Bayern Muenchen v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga

Is a new rivalry brewing in the Bundesliga?
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Der Klassiker has had its fair share of great times and fond memories – especially for Bayern fans – but I think that rivalry too will go by the wayside and another rival will emerge. My prediction is that this rival will be RB Leipzig. I know a lot of people have a problem with Leipzig, especially their rise to power, but you can’t dispute the results.

While it has been fun to see Bayern bumping into Dortmund in recent seasons, Bayern against Leipzig have been much better. The last four league matches have been played in a tie. In the last four league games against Dortmund, Bayern have won all four games, edging Dortmund 13-2. Julian Nagelsmann did a very good job closing the playing gap. There were also some great moments in the short history of this rivalry, including a DFB-Pokal final and who could forget the masterful performance 5- 4 in the first game in Leipzig, capped by an iconic goal from Arjen Robben.

Since arriving in the Bundesliga in 2016, RB Leipzig have fought for the Bundesliga as hard as Dortmund. They have proven to be a worthy rival for Bayern, and I think we can look forward to many great matches between the two teams in the seasons to come. Now the only question remains: what are we going to call this rivalry?

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