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 Ten Biggest Football Derbies to Look Forward to in 2022

What do you enjoy most about football? Goals? Yes. Great saves? Absolutely. A passionate local derby? Bring it on! The 2022 calendar is packed with some fantastic local derbies across various leagues and tournaments. Here are the biggest ones to look out for in 2022.

Liverpool vs Manchester United

With a history dating back more than 100 years, it is fair to say there is no love lost between Liverpool and Manchester United. The two clubs head into 2022 with differing aspirations – Liverpool want to win the Premier League title, while United are battling to finish in the top four. Their next meeting in March could be a fiery affair, particularly given what is likely to be at stake when the game comes around. Liverpool’s 5-0 victory at Old Trafford earlier this season has added further spice to a derby game that is always worth watching.

Inter Milan vs AC Milan

The Milan derby is widely viewed as a clash of cultures. Inter is the club for affluent people, while Milan is a working-class club. The rivalry has its roots in political differences, although this has not manifested itself amongst supporters who generally get along. That is often not the case on the field, particularly if the two clubs are challenging for silverware in Serie A. Their next meeting at the San Siro in February could go a long way in determining the destination of this season’s title, which will heighten the intensity between both sides.

Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid

El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona is widely viewed as one of the biggest games in not only in La Liga but in club football overall, but it is not a derby so does not qualify for this list. The Madrid derby fits the criteria and currently takes on even greater importance given Barca’s recent demise in fortunes. This is another derby with cultural differences in play – Atletico are the rebellious club, while Madrid represents the establishment. While the game probably matters more to Atletico than their rivals, that will not make their next meeting in May any less intense.

Cardiff City vs Swansea City

The Football League often features derby games during the season, but none are likely to be as tasty as the Championship clash between Cardiff and Swansea in April. The South Wales derby was fairly unspectacular until the 1969 Welsh Cup Final when both legs were marred by serious crowd disturbances. Further hooliganism saw away fans banned from the derby during the 1990s and the animosity has shown little sign of dying down in the modern era. With Cardiff embroiled in a relegation battle, Swansea will see the next derby as an ideal opportunity to add to their rivals’ woes.

Celtic vs Rangers

The Old Firm rivalry between Celtic and Rangers is one of the most bitter in football, with the ill-feeling deeply rooted in politics and religion. Many Celtic fans now claim there is no Old Firm match any more, and their games with Rangers are simply the ‘Glasgow derby’. They argue the club which plays at Ibrox now is not the same Rangers which formed in 1872 as it was liquidated in 2012 due to financial issues. Despite this, Celtic versus Rangers remains the biggest derby in the Scottish Premiership and their next meeting in January will be an unmissable event.

Lille vs Lens

With just 24 miles separating the two clubs, Lille versus Lens is firmly established as one of the hottest derbies in French football. Their last Ligue 1 clash last September was marred by crowd trouble, with the kick-off for the second half delayed by more than 30 minutes after incidents between the two sets of fans. Riot police were forced to intervene and eventually restored order, but the hatred between the two clubs was clear to see. Both clubs are expected to be challenging for European qualification when they next meet in April, which could fuel more off-field issues.

Hertha Berlin vs Union Berlin

The teams' meeting during the 2019/20 season was a historic one, as it marked the first Berlin derby in the Bundesliga for more than 40 years. It was also the first-ever all-Berlin derby since German reunification and was settled by Union striker Sebastian Polter's second-half penalty. Berlin’s political history initially resulted in this derby being a friendly rivalry, but relations have cooled a little between the two sides in recent years. The solidarity remains intact, but sporting differences are slowly helping the Berlin derby become an increasingly passionate affair.

Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray

Cultural differences come to the fore once again in the Fenerbahce versus Galatasaray derby, with the pair based in a city that is split down the middle. The event that best defines this rivalry took place during the 1995/96 season, when Graeme Souness nearly sparked a riot in the Turkish Cup Final. Galatasaray won the first-leg 1-0 at home and went on to win the trophy when they secured a 1-1 draw at Fenerbahce. The home fans were apoplectic with rage when the Galatasaray manager planted his club’s flag in the middle of the pitch after the game. The derby remains a must-see event today.

Scotland vs Wales

While Scotland and Wales are not guaranteed to meet in March, their potential World Cup play-off clash would be a cracker if it happened. Scotland traditionally view England as their main rivals, but Wales fans have their sights firmly set on the Tartan Army when it comes to footballing matters. Joe Jordan’s cheating antics in a 1977 World Cup qualifier are still bitterly recalled by many Wales fans, and time certainly has not been a healer. The two sides must first navigate semi-final ties if they are to meet in March, but both will desperate to make it happen.

Blackburn Rovers vs Burnley

This is another derby that is not guaranteed to happen, but fireworks are assured whenever the two Lancashire clubs go head-to-head. Former Manchester United legend described this clash as ‘mad’ during his time as Rovers manager and his assessment is absolutely spot on. With Rovers chasing promotion back to the Premier League, there is every chance the two clubs could meet again next season. However, Burnley are not guaranteed to avoid relegation this term. Pass them on the way up or play two derby games? That’d be a tough one to answer for Rovers fans.
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