THESE ARE THE FOOTBALL DERBIES YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE IN 2018
You’ve watched endless football matches of your local team, traveled across the country with your pals to cheer the team on your legendary away days and even watched your National Team – so what’s next?
Forget watching the biggest matches in the Champions League or even the international friendlies/qualifiers – experience real passion and atmosphere in the biggest derbies across the world. Push boundaries and discover new experiences in football – we’ve rounded up brilliant trips and bizarre experiences to inspire you for your next blood-bumping experience.
The Homefans experience goes far beyond just one football trip. Our community spans dozens of countries, and we keep track of adventures with us and most of them become life-long friends and regular travelers. It’s time to tick some derbies off your bucket list.
In the capital of Serbia, two clubs, Red Star and Partizan, have a fierce rivalry throughout many sports, including basketball and handball. However, the greatest of these rivalries is in the world of football, where the two Serbian clubs have dominated the domestic game.
The two clubs were born out of the ashes of the Second World War, and have battled with each other as well as Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split. The games have often been marred by violence between fans, and undercurrents of racism have always existed, especially in the early era. Flags, flares, and frustration are a staple of the matchup, with a fever pitch atmosphere at every game, which often spills over. This has exploded into a fierce football rivalry between Partizan and Red Star. Without a doubt: the most intense derby in Europe. We went there last December with a Homefans group and it was unreal!
THE HOLY WAR
The atmosphere at in Polish football is hard to compare with anything. Wisla Krakow is one of the few clubs where you can see the whole stands jumping. The Cracovia vs Wisla Krakow game is where you will see a sea of hands in the air whenever the capo tells to raise them. This is the game when chants are thundering onto the pitch. This is simply a unique football experience.
When you have an intense rivalry between two teams, usually they are two separate cities. Not in this case, as both resign in Krakow. The stadiums of Wisla Krakow and Cracovia are only 500 meters apart and the housing estates are nearby one another too.
The atmosphere at these derbies is hard to match. It’s one of the few games where you can feel the whole stadium breathing. You can see everyone’s hands in the air, while constantly chanting onto the pitch. It’s simply the match to watch in Poland and preparations are made months before. Experience an authentic Homefans Krakow experience with our local host Filip!
Stockholm’s smoke-filled derby of Djurgården v Hammarby has escalated to insane levels as the clubs now share the one stadium. The Stockholm Derby remains one of our favourite derbies at the moment. While it may be quite unknown for a lot of fans, the Stockholm derbies have proven over the last years that Sweden has a real football culture.
Experience a derby in Stockholm together with Homefans and our friends – Barra Brava Hammarby in the ultra section and you’re in for an amazing football experience. Expect lots of beers, flares and chants, this is an experience like no other.
While Real and Barca duel with each other in El Clasico, in Argentina, a whole different beast endures. El Superclasico, the name given to the turbulent fixture between the two Buenos Aires clubs Boca Juniors & River Plate, is played in a febrile atmosphere of extreme noise, strident bravado, resentfulness and not infrequent violence.
The Observer once identified the Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate as the No. 1 sporting event to attend before you die. We couldn’t agree more.
The reasons? The support these two receive is phenomenal and is matched by the passion and ferocity on display. They are the giants of Argentine football and regularly contest the nation’s chief footballing honours. Since 1913, when the sides first met, clashes between the two have been typically vibrant, vivid and colourful affairs.
The boundaries may have bled into one another slightly in this commercial age, but this is yet another key dichotomy forged upon fault lines within a community. Boca are seen as the club of the dockland area and typically represented the working class, while River, nicknamed Los Millonarios hail from the affluent Belgrano Cartier in the north of Buenos Aires.
To call this one a mere disagreement between two religious divides would be to massively under-sell the British’ biggest derby. Old Firm between Celtic v Rangers is still one of the biggest derbies in football.
Social, economic, political and sectarian tensions have combined to make this a unique fixture in world football, one which was almost banned in the 1930s in order to reduce the crime rate following the rise of Glasgow’s street gangs.
While these tensions are not as prevalent as they were, it has done little to dampen the flames of this rivalry, one which the much-traveled Paolo Di Canio described:
“You could take all the derby matches in the world and put them together and they still wouldn’t equal one-millionth of the Old Firm. There’s nothing like it.”
DERBY DELLA CAPITALE
Italy’s “Derby Della Capitale,” the eternal struggle between AS Roma v SS Lazio, is one of world football’s most enduring rivalries.
Such has been the success of Italy’s other sides in recent seasons, winning the Scudetto has been little more than a distant dream for these two. Instead, they have focused on their mutual disdain, and the long-term rivalry between these two capital clubs has bubbled ferociously.
The Rome Derby is about ownership, ownership of a city…what was it Commodus said? “Control the mob and you control Rome.” This derby should be on your list!
The Revier derby between Borussia Dortmund v Schalke’04 was a slow burner, taking 40 years to really capture the imagination, when Dortmund finally began to challenge their neighbors, meaning Germany’s biggest grudge match was on its way.
It’s hard to underestimate how important a release football was for those in the industrial heartland of post-war Germany. This, plus the combination of locality, shared history and culture have meant the two Ruhr sides have grown to hate each other – possibly because they’re so similar. Definitely one for any self-respecting European football fan’s bucket list.
Istanbul is a breathtaking city. Locals call it ‘the city that is older than time itself’. The ancient town, formerly known as Constantinople, is home to 14 million people and some of the greatest sights on earth, from the Hagia Sophia to the Topkapi Palace – residence of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. However, one of its main attractions, to the wider European football audience at least, is its ferocious derby: Galatasaray v Fenerbahçe.
The Kıtalar Arası rivalry has accumulated legendary status in the pantheon of great football rivalries, growing from an innocuous friendly in 1909 to one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles in European football. There are certain places die-hard football fans just need to visit during their time on this planet; Eternal Belgrade is one, Buenos Aires for Superclásico is another, but arguably the most exhilarating football experience is the Istanbul derby, experienced in all of its boiling intensity in either Gala’s Türk Telecom Arena or in the cauldron of the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.
DERBY DELLA LANTERNA
The derby Della Lanterna is named after the city’s iconic lighthouse and is “the most special in Italy” according to World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi.
Visually, this is a stunning clash between Genoa v Sampdoria, with both sets of fans going all-in as far as tifos, banners, fireworks and general explosions of colours go.
Unlike the Rome derby, this is usually good-natured, with Lippi continuing the spirit there is based: “mickey-taking, pranks, like organizing mock funerals for the opposition. It’s the least nasty of all the derbies.”
These are some of our favourite derbies in no particular order you have to experience in 2018. How many derbies have you visited so far? Fancy to add a new derby to your list? Homefans organizes small group trips to the most intense derbies in football. See our trips or get in touch to create your own for you and your friends.