Fans are the lifeblood of any football club. They know they will turn up every week to cheer on their team, no matter the weather, time or place. At the start of the season though, every fan scours the fixture list to find the same matches – the derbies. These are the games that all fans relish more than any other. It’s all well and good winning against your league counterparts, but there is nothing more satisfying for a fan than to get one over your rivals. Twice a year, the victorious following get the chance to brag, boast, and bluster until the next derby comes along. We here at Copa90 know how important these derbies are for fans, not just in England but all over the globe. So, to show our love for what all fans have in common, we’re introducing a weekly segment dedicated to previewing the world’s derbies of the weekend.
Saturday 7th March
Dinamo Zagreb v NK Zagreb
14:00 GMT, Stadion Maksimir, Croatia First League
The only derby to feature on Saturday is the relatively mild derby between Dinamo Zagreb and NK Zagreb. Despite hailing from the same city, Dinamo Zagreb’s biggest derby is actually with Hajduk Split in the ‘Eternal Derby’. This is not to say that NK and Dinamo is unimportant though, as NK love nothing more than beating their superior neighbours. The previous meeting between these two ended in a goalless draw, so it’s all to play for this time around.
Sunday 8th March
With five derbies to be played on Sunday, the first takes place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The second largest city in Bulgaria, Plovdiv plays host to the historic ‘Plovdiv Derby’ between Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Botev Plovdiv. This derby is always a heated affair, with police action often needed after the game. The traditionally lower class fans of Lokomotiv don’t see eye to eye with the upper class fans of Botev, and this friction is mirrored on the pitch.
FC Copenhagen v Brøndby IF
14:00 GMT, Parken Stadium, Denmark Superliga
Next up on Sunday is the biggest derby in Danish football, between the two biggest teams of FC Copenhagen and Brøndby IF. Known as the ‘New Firm’ derby (a play on the Old Firm rivalry between Celtic and Rangers), this is a fierce fixture that consistently draws the largest crowds in Denmark. With ten First Division titles each, historically speaking there is little to separate the two sides going in to the derby. As FC Copenhagen are currently seven points ahead of Brøndby IF in the league though, the visitors will be looking to close the points gap and earn the bragging rights till they next meet in early April. Check out what this match means to the fans in our Derby Days video.
Austria Vienna v Rapid Vienna
15:30 GMT, Franz Horr Stadion, Austria Bundesliga
The Austrian capital is the setting for the ‘Vienna Derby’, played between city rivals Austria Vienna and Rapid Vienna. The two sides begrudgingly have many similarities. As the two most successful teams in Austria, neither side have ever been relegated, and in the 310 games played between the two, Rapid Vienna only have 10 more wins that Austria Vienna. Recent history indicates that this derby is always a lively affair (the derby was abandoned in 2011 after Rapid fans invaded the pitch!), so we sent our own Eli to dig deeper into the history and significance of the ‘Vienna Derby’!
Fenerbahçe v Galatasaray
17:00 GMT, Sükrü Saracoglu Stadium, Süper Lig
Next up on Sunday is undoubtedly one of the greatest football derbies in the world. Known in Britain as the ‘Intercontinental Derby’, this fixture is unmissable for any football fan. The derby is contested between two of the most successful clubs in the Süper Lig in Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, and has developed into a popular yet fractious fixture. As the two Turkish sides with the biggest following, the fixture naturally provokes hooliganism and violence, despite the best efforts of the police. Sunday’s match is set to be a cracker, with both sides competing at the top of the Süper Lig. Get a feel for how intense this derby truly is by watching our Derby Days video here!