December 9, 2019
There are plenty of ordinary games. People come in, the game kicks off and ninety minutes later it finishes. You applaud, then just walk out. There’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you just want a little bit more! Sometimes, you want a game that has people talking for months in advance, a game that appears to put an entire city into a standstill. Homefans selected ten derbies that should be on your 2020 wishlist!
Derby Della Lanterna: Sampdoria – Genoa
Genoa is still a city with a big scar. Over a year on, Genoa is still recovering from the collapsing of the Ponte Morandi, the bridge accident taking 43 lives. Football serves as an excellent therapy and it might even give the Genoa city derby an extra dimension. The Ligurian capital was never typical for Italy anyway. If it is picturesque city centers in lovely villages and towns you are after, you’d be better off going somewhere else. Genoa is a rough city full of edgy places and tempers can rise for the derby.
The Lantern Derby, named after the lighthouse tower around witch the city circles, is a battle between the two life veins in Genoa, both of which use the stunning Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Extra tip: make sure to visit Pizzeria Stadio before kick-off. All pizzas are cheap and come straight out of the oven. Scheduled for the weekend starting May 3rd!
Berliner Stadtderby: Hertha BSC – Union Berlin
This derby should be topping everyone’s bucket list. Union Berlin makes their maiden Bundesliga appearance this season: the derby against Hertha is a rare occasion because the two sides don’t normally play in the same division. The fixture at the giant Olympiastadion is scheduled for the weekend commencing March 21. The match is a clash between Hertha, West Berlin’s powerhouse, and Union, a club that disappeared behind the Iron Curtain and served as an opponent to state security service Stasi.
A spectacular derby is guaranteed. Take your chance this year, because who knows if Union will be in the Bundesliga next season?
Derbi Sevillano: Sevilla – Real Betis
The Andalusian capital should not miss out, many experts have argued that the derby in the city of flamenco is up there with the best in Europe. You don’t have to agree, but you would certainly be wise to go check it out for yourself! Sevilla FC, a team with English roots, against Real Betis Balompie, an opponent found by locals – the word Balompié is simply a made-up translation for the English word. Relationships between Sevillistas and béticos, however, are tense. They tend to cohabit in harmony, but on derby days they cannot stand the sight of each other.
In January 2018, Betis took sweet revenge for all the times their enemy rubbed their European exploits in by beating them 3-5 on their own patch. It does not even have to be that eventful for it to become an unforgettable experience! We will be there in March, are you in? Check the upcoming trip.
Stockholm Derby: Hammarby v AIK
Scandinavian football is becoming bigger and bigger. It’s not the first destination you would think of for football, but you will be surprised by the incredible atmosphere on derby days in the Swedish capital Stockholm. Home of some of Sweden’s biggest teams Hammarby, Djurgärden and AIK.
The Stockholm derbies make the headlines every season with incredible tifo’s, smoke and all the passion on the stands and on the field. Skip the traditional destinations, and choose for a Scandinavian derby, you won’t regret it.
DerValencianoano: Valencia – Levante
A no-brainer! Valencia, as a city, is starting to enjoy incredible popularity, and in the weekend commencing March 15 even contains the highlights of the annual Fallas festival. This party could be described as similar to carnival, but that does not quite cut it. The best thing to do is just go there and see it all for yourself. Definitely, because the Valencian derby is set for the same weekend, a game also known as derbi del Turio between Valencia and Levante. Expect atmosphere, passion and grit, but if you want to see rioting you have come to the wrong place.
Maybe it is because of how dominant Valencia are: Levante has not won a game at the Mestalla for ages. It is anybody’s guess how many chances they will get from now, because there have been talks to demolish this iconic, ultra-steep stadium. So take your chance while it is still there and make sure you take up a place inside one of the many bars around the round well in advance!
Derby Rhône-Alpes: Olympique Lyon – Saint-Étienne
Most people love France, but French football is nowhere near as popular. Time for that to change! If RC Lens and Lille are reunited in Ligue 1 next season, then make sure to get yourself to Lens for a fiery game. This season, you’d be best advised to drive on a bit further south to see Lyon and Saint-Étienne battle it out. The first city is considered to be elitist, whereas Saint-Étienne has a more working class reputation. Lyon have moved out of the charming but outdated Gerland stadium to allow for the brand new Groupama Stadium to be built. This game is an excellent chance to see Lyon’s big stars in action. Away wins for St. Étienne at their hated neighbours have become rare in recent times.
Derby de Lisboa: Sporting Portugal – Benfica
Why not start 2020 in the best possible way? In the weekend commencing January 18, Lisbon’s derby is on the fixture list: Sporting Portugal welcome Benfica to their home. Both temples of football, built for Euro 2004, are located less fifteen minutes away from each other on foot. Both Sporting and Benfica play an important role in Portuguese society, between them both clubs have about 200,000 members.
The story of Sporting is one of frustration: only two league titles in 37 years, none since 2002. They haven’t tasted victory in the derby for a while either. If they do manage It now, you will hear the ground letting out a collective, liberating roar. If they don’t, oh well. At least you’ll be away in sunny Lisbon where it’s a lot warmer than at home. Are you in? See the upcoming trips to the Lisbon derby here.
Święta Wojna: Cracovia – Wisla Kraków
Święta Wojna probably won’t ring many bells, but it is the Polish for Holy War. Krakow, lovely as it might look, has a derby which is a serious affair. Just as is the case in Liverpool, the game is contested between two sides separated by a park. Rather different to Liverpool, however, is that it would be a terrible idea to walk through this park wearing the ‘wrong’ colours.
The good news: if you inform yourself in advance and adhere to the ‘don’ts’, you will be absolutely fine to visit this derby between Jewish-orientated Cracovia and Wisla, a bigger, more nationalist club. Word of advice: if someone in Krakow asks you which team you support, just keep quiet. The game is scheduled for the weekend commencing March 4.
The Eternal Derby Belgrado: Red Star – Partizan
Also called the Derby of Southeast Europe and Belgrade derby. It’s the local derby in Belgrade, Serbia, between fierce city rivals Red Star and Partizan, two of the biggest and most popular clubs in Serbia. This Derby is one of our favorite derbies when it comes to intensity. It’s not for nothing that this derby has been described as “one of European football’s most bitter rivalries” and we travel there every year.
If you fancy an incredible derby then this one should definitely be on your football bucket list!
Pražské derby: Slavia Prague – Sparta Prague
Czech football, historically speaking, has two big clubs: Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague. In recent times, teams like Viktoria Plzen have risen to the top, but their emergence as a top side does not diminish the importance of this derby. If you are interested in seeing how big the football culture of the Czech capital is, you should visit another stadium: Stadion Strahov is still to be found in Prague. This gigantic ground, once home to Sparta, could welcome a whopping 250,000 visitors.
In Slavia’s Eden Arena, where this game is due to be played in the first weekend in March, capacity is a lot smaller, but it makes up for it by producing a stunning atmosphere when both sets of fanatic supporters unveil their banners ahead of ninety minutes’ worth of full support!
Fancy a derby this season? We are specialized in organizing the largest derby’s worldwide in collaboration with clubs and local fans. View all upcoming group trips to the most intense European derby’s here.