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 Ten Biggest Football Derbies to Look Forward to in 2023

Derby matches are often much more than just a 'normal' game of football as they capture raw emotion and passion while frequently splitting entire cities and countries in half.

Rivalry has always been a significant component of football. Whether it's about location, politics, or religion, it's an essential part of any sport.

While the Qatar World Cup remains under the spotlight, plenty of football action is coming up in 2023, and it's time to take a look at the ten biggest derbies in sports today to keep an eye on in the next calendar year.

Note: You should also see our feature on the biggest football derbies in 2022.

#10 Der Klassiker

While Revierderby contested between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 carries a reputation as the most famous derby in German football, Der Klassiker has seemingly surpassed it in the recent decade.

With Bayern Munich establishing a long-term reign of dominance of the Bundesliga and Dortmund the only side able to threaten their supremacy, this mouth-watering fixture has taken centre stage in Germany.

The spoils were shared when the two sides met in the first top-flight Der Klassiker of the 2022/23 season as Die Borussen battled back from a 2-0 down to claim an enthralling 2-2 draw.

However, unless Edin Terzic's men haul back a nine-point deficit by the time the two sides meet again at the Allianz Arena on April 1, that encounter won't have any bearing on the title race.

#9 Old Firm

Often considered one of the most popular derbies on the planet, Old Firm also carries a religious connotation, as Celtic Catholics and Rangers Protestants bring more fire to the plate.

After dethroning the Ibrox outfit last season, the Hoops are seemingly waltzing away with the Scottish Premiership title this term, but that won't ease the tensions between the opposing fanbases.

Celtic dispatched the Gers 4-0 in the first Old Firm of the 2022/23 season and will be looking to solidify their dominance in this blockbuster fixture when they welcome Ranges at Parkhead on April 8.

#8 Liverpool vs Real Madrid

Not a derby in its strictest sense, but the upcoming Champions League round-of-16 tie between Liverpool and Real Madrid deserves its place in this category.

Both teams have been permanent fixtures in Europe's elite competition's knockout stages and have faced each other in the grand final twice across the last five seasons.

Los Merengues were victorious on each occasion, including last season's 1-0 triumph, which halted Liverpool's bid to win the unprecedented quadruple in May.

Revenge will be on the cards, especially following the Reds' abysmal Premier League start, so let's keep an eye on this in February.

#7 Barcelona vs Manchester United

We must be living in a parallel universe, as there's no chance Barcelona and Manchester United would be locking horns in the Europa League knockout playoff round in normal circumstances.

However, the reality in sports today is ruthless. It pits the two European heavyweights against each other in February, with the Catalan powerhouse being given home advantage in the first leg.

After failing to make it out of the Champions League group stages in two consecutive seasons for only the second time in the club's rich continental history, Barcelona will be out to prove a point.

On the other hand, the Red Devils are going through a transitional period, and overcoming a club of Barca's stature would be a massive confidence boost for manager Erik ten Hag going forward.

#6 Derby d'Italia

Juventus' age of terror in Serie A belongs to the history books after the record-time Italy champions could only manage back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the last two seasons.

And while they've experienced another stuttering league start, Massimiliano Allegri's men have clawed their way back to the top-four race in Italy's top flight.

A keenly-contested battle for the Champions League spots in Serie A will go down to the wire this season. And the mammoth showdown between Juventus and Inter Milan will be in the thick of it.

The next installment of one of the most long-standing rivalries in Italy falls on March 19 as Simone Inzaghi's lads host their Turin counterparts to Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

#5 North London derby

Tottenham Hotspur's 3-0 thrashing of Arsenal down the final stretch of the 2022/23 Premier League season deepened the antagonism between the two local teams.

Mikel Arteta's high-flyers were quick to avenge last season's defeat, which ruled them out of the top-four race, humbling Spurs 3-1 back in October en route to seizing the top spot in England's premier competition.

Arsenal welcomed the World Cup break as sovereign Premier League leaders, five points clear of defending champions Manchester City, and will aim to prove their title credentials against Tottenham.

A highly anticipated match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium comes on January 15, with Antonio Conte's men looking to throw a spanner in the Gunners' title pursuit.

#4 Merseyside derby

It feels like it's been eons since the Merseyside derby last had any bearings on the top-table Premier League goings-on.

But Liverpool and Everton are always enthusiastic about the longest-running top-flight derby in England.

Despite their long-term struggle in the lower reaches, the Toffees see this clash as an opportunity to contest local bragging rights, as evidenced by their spirited performance in a drab 0-0 draw earlier this season.

However, they'll have to play out of their skins if they're to walk away from Anfield undefeated when they take on Liverpool on their favourite playing ground on February 13.

#3 Derby della Madonnina

Speaking of close proximity, one of the most important dates on the Serie A calendar pits AC Milan and Inter against each other at Meazza on February 5.

As one of the fiercest derbies on the planet, the famous Derby della Madonnina is much more than just a game for the two Italian giants, especially after the tensions intensified in the past couple of years.

First Inter curtailed Juventus' decade-long reign of dominance in 2020/21 before Milan dethroned their bitter city rivals last season to rekindle old flames in this handsomely-looking rivalry.

Revenge will be in store when the two sides square off on February 5 after the Nerazzurri suffered a 3-2 defeat in the reverse fixture in September.

#2 North West derby

Oftentimes on each other's heels, Liverpool and Manchester United have alternated at the top of English football since the beginning of time and the flames are as extreme as they were in the 1970s.

Although neither side is likely to form part of the Premier League title chase this season unless some spectacular developments, the world will tune in to Anfield on March 4.

Liverpool pulled off an eye-catching league double over Man Utd last season via an aggregate score of 9-0, yet the Red Devils won 2-1 in the reverse fixture this term.

High scoring has been a common theme in the recent editions of the North West derby, so this one is a must-watch.

#1 El Clasico

Widely regarded as one of the greatest derbies ever played, El Clasico confronts the two most successful and influential football clubs in Europe, let alone Spain.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are arguably the two most popular and supported clubs in the world, so it's no big surprise their rivalry often draws considerable attention.

Los Merengues brushed a new-look Blaugrana squad aside with an overwhelming 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu in this season's first El Clasico.

Xavi Hernandez's men will have a chance to settle the score when they host their arch-rivals at the Spotify Camp Nou on March 19.

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