Robert Lewandowski outscored Erling Haaland with a Klassiker hat-trick as Bayern Munich recovered from two goals down to again beat Borussia Dortmund in a 4-2 victory.
Bayern reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga hours after being knocked off the summit by RB Leipzig, despite an awful start to another epic encounter on Sunday (AEST).
The champions were two behind inside nine minutes following Haaland's brace, but Lewandowski had them level by half-time and Dortmund, already missing Jadon Sancho, saw their two-goal talisman hobble off with half an hour to play.
BVB still looked set to hold on and end a run of four league defeats to Bayern, only for Leon Goretzka to break their resolve before Lewandowski's treble-clincher capped another outstanding outing.
Bayern finished the match in far more convincing fashion than they started it, with Jerome Boateng standing off Haaland, whose low shot clipped off the defender's heel and skipped past Manuel Neuer for the opener after a minute and 14 seconds.
Nico Schulz charged up the left and slipped in Thorgan Hazard, who in turn squared for Haaland to add number two, and he might have completed a 25-minute hat-trick had Thomas Meunier's final pass been better.
Instead, Bayern went straight up the other end and halved the deficit when Leroy Sane twisted away from Schulz and centred for Lewandowski to finish.
Subsequent pressure on the Dortmund goal gave the eventual equaliser an air of inevitability. Kingsley Coman, earlier denied by Marwin Hitz, was tripped by Mahmoud Dahoud, allowing Lewandowski to tuck away a VAR-assisted spot-kick a minute before the break.
Haaland made way on the hour mark, having sustained a cut to his ankle, yet Bayern also lost Boateng and started to grow frustrated as they were somehow kept at bay.
Meunier's poor clearance teed up Goretzka for the pivotal volley with two minutes to play, however, and Lewandowski fittingly had the final say, driving forward and finding the same bottom-left corner.
What does it mean? Bayern take big step in title race
Even having apparently rescued a point to return to top spot on goal difference, Bayern seemed to have ceded the initiative to Leipzig, comfortable in claiming a sixth straight league win at Freiburg earlier on Saturday.
But with Bayern's 25th and 26th attempts at the Allianz Arena – they ended with 27 to Dortmund's meagre four – that all changed.
The champions restored a two-point gap, vital ahead of next month's meeting between the top two, and have now scored four or more times in five consecutive home league matches against Dortmund.
Star strikers take centre stage
Mammoth matches between two top sides can often fall short of lofty expectations, but that is rarely the case in Der Klassiker – and the fixture's two leading stars certainly enjoy this platform.
With his two early strikes, Haaland took his tally against Bayern this season to four in all competitions, the most of any opposition player across a single campaign since Cristiano Ronaldo netted five in clashes with the Bavarian giants in 2016-17.
Lewandowski is rarely outdone in these encounters, though. His treble took him to 20 Bundesliga goals against Dortmund in 14 matches, leapfrogging Klaus Allofs (18) for the all-time league record against BVB.
No end to Bayern injury woe
A hobbling Haaland's departure might have ended Dortmund's hopes of victory in this match, but Boateng's exit might prove more problematic in the weeks to come, his ailment apparently more serious than his opponent's.
Bayern have had to reshuffle their Champions League-winning back line all season long, here shaping up with Niklas Sule at right-back – and exposed for the second – as Benjamin Pavard remains out.
Boateng, perhaps at fault for the first, showed what Bayern might miss, making a team-high four interceptions.
Key Opta Facts
- Bayern Munich have scored in each of their last 58 competitive matches – their club record is 61 games (2013-2014).
- Robert Lewandowski has scored 31 goals after 24 matchdays in the Bundesliga, with the old record having been 26 goals (set by Gerd Muller 1971-72).
- Erling Haaland has scored 29 goals in his 28 competitive matches in this season, adding seven assists.
- Haaland has scored 32 goals in his first 34 Bundesliga matches, with only Uwe Seeler having made a better start across the same number of games (33 goals).
Bayern have a week to recover before visiting Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga next Saturday, but Dortmund have only until Tuesday when they attempt to protect their 3-2 advantage against Sevilla in the Champions League.