Europe’s Biggest Football Rivalries

All the major football rivalries from Europe:

United Kingdom

Featured Derby: The Old Firm Derby, Glasgow, Scotland
Celtic FC vs Rangers FC

Celtic and Rangers have been competing against each other since 1888. They have contested 381 games, with Rangers currently holding the advantage, 152 victories to Celtic’s 137. Celtic and Rangers are Scotland’s most successful clubs. Between them they have won 66 Scottish Cups and 93 Scottish Premier League titles. No other side has won the Scottish top division since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in the 1984/85 season.

The Old Firm derby has seen regular outbreaks of violence between the two sets of supporters often attributed to the Sectarianism resulting from a steep political & religious divide between supporters groups. Despite the violence, the Old Firm derby is renowned worldwide as one of the great Footballing contests.

Other UK Derbies:

Manchester United vs Liverpool (England)
Manchester United vs Manchester City (England)
Liverpool vs Everton (England)
Birmingham vs Aston Villa (England)
Arsenal vs Tottenham (England)
Newcastle vs Sunderland (England)
Sheffield Wednesday vs Sheffield United (England)
West Bromwich Albion vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (England)
Norwich City vs Ipswich Town (England)
Bristol City vs Bristol Rovers (England)
Southampton vs Portsmouth (England)
Blackburn vs Burnley (England)
Derby County vs Nottingham Forest (England)
Arsenal vs Chelsea (England)
West Ham United vs Millwall (England)
Newcastle vs Middlesbrough (England)
Hiberian vs Hearts (Scotland)
Dundee vs Dundee United (Scotland)
Aberdeen vs Dundee United (Scotland)
Bohemians vs Shamrock (Ireland)
Swansea vs Cardiff (Wales)
Linfield vs Glentoran (Northern Irelend)


Featured Derby: El Clásico, Spain
FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid

For the people of Catalonia, FC Barcelona is more than just a Football club. During the Spanish civil war, regional areas like Catalonia were subject to attempts by the Fascist Government to suppress their unique culture and identity. FC Barcelona become a symbol of the Catalan way of life, and a representation of Spanish Democracy.  Real Madrid on the other hand was viewed more as the Club representing both the establishment and Spanish Nationalism. This blend of social and political differences contributed to the fierce nature of the derby. Transfer wrangles over De Stefano in the 1950’s and Figo in 2000, intensified the rivalry even further.

The El Clasico is one of the biggest matches in World Football, capturing the imagination not only of Spain, but of the billions of supporters watching across the world. 

Other Spanish Derbies:

Barcelona vs Espanyol
Real Sociedad vs Athletic Bilbao
Sevilla FC vs Real Betis
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
Valencia vs Levante


Featured Derby: Derby della Capitale, Rome, Italy
S.S Lazio vs A.S Roma

In 1927 A.S. Roma was founded. The Club was formed as a result of a merger between three of the four major clubs in Rome. The only club to resist the merger was S.S. Lazio. The rivalry between the clubs grew from this point, as they fought for the honour of representing Rome as it’s premier club. The Derby has been subject to violence over the years, driven primarily by the Ultra factions of both clubs. The Violence is often motivated by racist and fascist ideologies

In March 2004 the derby was plagued by riots, which eventually led to the game being postponed. The riots began because of false rumours spread about a boy being killed by Police outside the stadium. Three Roma Ultra’s walked onto the pitch and threatened Roma captain Francesco Totti, asking him to call the game off.  The riot spread onto the streets, resulting in 13 arrests and over 170 police officers injured.

Other Italian Derbies:

AC Milan vs Inter Milan
Juventus vs Torino
Chievo v Hellas Verona
Sampdoria vs Genoa
Inter Milan vs Juventus
Palermo vs Catania


Featured Derby: The Revierderby, The Rhur,  Germany
Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04

Germany’s largest derby is the Revierderby between Dortmund and Schalke. The first game between the clubs was in 1925 when Schalke triumphed 4-2. Schalke dominated the early contest, winning 17 out of first 19 games. However since the Bundesliga began in 1963, Dortmund have held a slight advantage with 27 wins to Schalke’s 25 wins.

The most famous Revierderby in recent times would have to be the May 2007 clash. Schalke had been league leaders for 3 months, and faced Dortmund on the penultimate game of the season. Schalke ended up losing the game 2-0 and as a result lost the title to Stuttgart. It had been 49 years since Schalke had lifted the German league title. Schalke’s supporters were crushed, Dortmund supporters celebrated by buying special replica kits to commemorate the occasion.

Other Germany Derbies:

Bayern Munchen vs 1860 Munchen
Werder Bremen vs Hamburg
Karlsruhe vs Stuttgart

Rest of Europe

Featured Derbies: Derby of the Eternal enemies, Athens, Greece
Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos

Olympiacos hail from the port of Piraeus and traditionally represents the working class of Athens. Panathinaikos on the other hand comes from the center of Athens and represents the old upper class of Athens. The derby originally  provided the working class a way to vent their frustration towards the upper class. The rivalry has grown more intense over time, and the fixture is now synonymous with Hooligan violence. On March 2007, A Panathinaikos fan was stabbed to death in a pre arranged meeting between hooligans of both clubs. This has resulted in a police crackdown on both sets of supporters. 

Other Derbies:

Benfica vs Sporting Portugal (Portugal)
Porto vs Boavista (Portugal)
Ajax vs Feyenoord (Holland)
Club Brugge vs Anderlecht (Belgium)
FK Sarajevo vs FK Zeljeznicar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Ferencvarosi TC vs Ujpest (Hungary)
Levski Sofia vs CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria)
Dinamo Zagreb vs Hajduk Split (Croatia)
Sparta Prague vs Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)
FC Copenhagen vs Brondby (Denmark)
Nantes vs Saint Etienne (France)
PSG vs Olympic Marseille (France)
Olympiacos vs AEK Athens (Greece)
Panathinaikos vs AEK Athens (Greece)
Steaua Bucuresti vs Dinamo Bucuresti (Romania)
Steaua Bucuresti vs Rapid Bucurestie (Romania)
Rapid Bucuresti vs Dinamo Bucuresti (Romania)
Spartak Moscow vs CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Spartak Moscow vs Dinamo Moscow (Russia)
Slovan Bratislava vs Spartak Trnava (Slovakia)
FC Basel vs FC Zurich (Switzerland)
AIK vs Djurgardens IF (Sweden)
Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce (Turkey)
Besiktas vs Galatasaray (Turkey)
Besiktas vs Fenerbahce (Turkey)
FK Crvena Zvezda vs Partizan (Serbia)
Dynamo Kyiv vs Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)

Back to the main Football Rivalries page.

We encourage anyone who has personally experienced any of the above derby fixtures to write a feature article on their experiences and get it published on Soccerlens.

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