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 in Europe that should be on your wishlist.
Derby Della Madonnina: AC Milan – Internazionale
The Derby della Madonnina between Inter and AC Milan is a fixture virtually every Serie A supporter looks forward to and it is a derby lauded and loved by football fans globally. Yet, were it not for an internal dispute 110 years ago, this historic rivalry may not have existed at all.
In the last few seasons, the derby has not had as much riding on it as it once had due to the lull both sides have suffered in recent years. Apart from bragging rights, it is not the top of the table clash it once was. However, it will be one of the last fixtures in the football temple San Siro as both clubs look to get a new stadium.
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.
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!
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.
Thessaloniki Derby: PAOK – Aris
The Derby of Thessaloniki or Derby of Macedonia is a football local rivalry between Aris and PAOK, both of which are based in Thessaloniki, Greece. Aris play their home games at the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium in Charilaou district of eastern Thessaloniki, while PAOK is based at the Toumba Stadium in the neighboring Toumba district. The two stadiums are 1.54 km apart.
Aris, one of Greece’s most famous clubs, were demoted to the bottom of the footballing ladder when encountering serious financial problems in 2014, forced to work their way back to the top. Regardless of where the teams are located in the standings, matches between the two clubs are always full of drama, excitement, and pure passion from the two sets of supporters. It’s one of the derbies that should be on your bucket list.
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 has 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
It is often said that football is more important than life and death. The slightly hyperbolic idea is believed all across the globe, but it takes on a literal meaning in Belgrade. In the Serbian capital, you are either red and white or black and white.
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 next season? We are specialized in organizing the largest derby’s worldwide in collaboration with clubs and local fans. Join the waiting list for next season here.