The best two managers in world football face off on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp leading Manchester City and Liverpool into a potential Premier League title decider.
Klopp has an excellent record against Guardiola, with the German having won more matches against the City boss than anyone else, tasting victory on nine occasions against his rival.
Of course, their time together in the Premier League is not the first time Guardiola and Klopp have been battling each other for silverware. Here, we take a look back at five of the most memorable meetings between two men who will go down in history as managerial greats.
Borussia Dortmund 4-2 Bayern Munich – DFL-Supercup, 2013
Guardiola’s competitive debut with Bayern was against Klopp, with Dortmund and Bayern playing out a repeat of the Champions League final from a couple of months earlier. Bayern had won on that occasion, but Klopp’s side earned a measure of revenge in this six-goal thriller.
Marco Reus both opened and finished off the scoring for Dortmund, with Arjen Robben on target twice for Bayern in the second half. But it was two goals in two minutes for Dortmund that settled the game, with Daniel Van Buyton’s own goal rapidly followed by Ilkay Gundogan’s strike – the Germany midfielder now plays for Guardiola at City, but worked under Klopp at Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Bayern Munich (AET) – DFB-Pokal final, 2014
Bayern clinched the Double at the end of Guardiola’s first campaign in Germany, with Klopp’s Dortmund unable to stop them from lifting the DFB-Pokal trophy at Berlin’s Olympiastadion. It was not the best cup final for the neutrals as both teams cancelled each other out in a goalless first 90 minutes, perhaps a sign of the tactical battle to come at the Etihad on Sunday.
Bayern’s extra quality in attack told during extra time as substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a golden chance for Dortmund moments after the restart. Franck Ribery crossed for Robben to open the scoring and the final was over when Thomas Muller broke to make it 2-0.
Bayern Munich 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (Dortmund won on pens) – DFB-Pokal semi, 2015
At the end of the following season, Dortmund edged a tight semi-final to send outgoing boss Klopp out in style in his last clash against Guardiola in Germany. Robert Lewandowski put Bayern ahead against his old club, but Aubameyang levelled and the tie went to penalty.
Bayern failed to convert any of their four kicks, meaning the successful penalties by Dortmund duo Sebastian Kehl and Ilkay Gundogan were enough to send them to the final, which they lost.
Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City – Premier League, 2018)
Guardiola’s side almost produced one of the greatest Premier League comebacks in the competition’s history, falling just short as Klopp’s men held on to clinch a seven-goal classic. Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain put the Reds ahead early, with Liverpool seemingly shrugging off the record-breaking sale of their talisman Coutinho, who had just departed to Barcelona.
Leroy Sane capitalised on a Joe Gomez error to level, but Liverpool scored three times in quick succession, Roberto Firmino putting them ahead before Sadio Mane thrashed home. Ederson’s poor clearance allowed Mohamed Salah to make it 4-1 and that seemed to be game over.
Bernardo Silva and Gundogan then scored late goals to spark hopes of a City fightback for the ages, but Liverpool were able to cling on. It made little difference at the end of the season, though, as City were already cruising to another title under Guardiola regardless.
Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool (Premier League, 2019)
It was the Reds leading the way in the next season, but City ended their unbeaten start to the season, with Liverpool’s 20-game run without defeat wrecked on a frantic Thursday night.
Aguero’s near-post drive had put City ahead but Liverpool had the wind at their backs after Firmino nodded in to draw Klopp’s visitors level. The decisive goal came 18 minutes from the final whistle when Sane was set up by Sterling to fire home past Reds goalkeeper Alisson.
Earlier in the game, John Stones produced a miraculous clearance after his own clearance had rebounded off Ederson in the aftermath of Sadio Mane hitting the City post. It was just 1.12cm from going in, but that small margin proved key as City went on to win the title by a single point.
Such fine differences could also be the key on Sunday when Klopp and Guardiola meet again.