Top Five Balkans Football Derbies

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In the Balkans football is more than just a sport – it’s a way of life. This is most noticeable in the famous rivalries between Balkan football clubs. The animosities between the fans run deep and every time the rivals meet on the field, players are up for a big event and an exciting game.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the biggest derbies between Balkan clubs and we’ll analyze what to expect from their next match. All of the matches we mention here are also great betting opportunities and sportsbook sites accepting Ethereum often have special bets and bonuses dedicated to the derbies.

Crvena Zvezda vs. Partizan

 Red Star (Crvena Zvezda) and Partizan or the so-called Eternal is probably the biggest rivalry of Serbian football. The two teams and their fans are known for their animosity. It goes beyond just football and stretches to cultural and political differences between the two fan bases. Even though both teams were founded in 1945 by the communist regime, over the years they began to represent different political and cultural currents in Yugoslavia and then Serbia.

The teams have 264 times in different leagues and cups. Red Star won 113 matches, Partizan won 81, and 70 ended with a tie. The score is now 395:336 in favor of Red Star.

The two teams were scheduled to meet once again on the 27th of September, but the match was postponed through no fault of their own. The new date isn’t set yet, but fans are up for an exciting match as usual. The bookmakers are favoring Red Star which is a bit behind Partizan in the League overall. The last game ended in a tie. 

Dinamo Zagreb vs. Hajduk Split

Another Eternal Derby, also known as the Croatian derby takes place between two of the best Croatian clubs – Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split. The rivalry goes a long way back starting in the 1920s when Dinamo was known as Gradjanski. Alongside Partizan and Red Star, the two teams composed the Big Four of Yugoslav football.

The two teams have met 103 times during the Yugoslav era. Dinamo won 39 and Hajduk won 36 times. They played 239 in the Croatian Championship and League. Dinamo won 103 of these and Hajduk won 74 with the rest resulting in a draw.

The teams are scheduled to meet on the 16th of December. Hajduk is currently ahead in the championship, but Dinamo won 4 out of the last 5 matches between the two, making it a tight race for the bookmakers and fans alike.

The eternal derby ended in 6:0 twice, with both teams achieving the deceive victory – Dinamo (under a different name) in 1939 and Hajduk in 1955. The match also concluded with a score of 3:0 in 2013 and 2022. In both cases, this was the declared score after the match was interrupted by unruly fans.

CSKA Sofia vs. Levski Sofia

 The eternal derby between two of the best Bulgarian football teams is a matter of great rivalry and the most important sports event of the season. Both teams were founded in the late 1940s and the rivalry began when they faced each other in the Soviet Army Cup of 1950.

The rivalry between the fans and the teams was always hostile. It even led the communist authorities in Bulgaria to disband both teams in 1985, after a brawl on the field that included both the fans and the players.

The two teams have met 215 times in various cups and leagues. Levski Sofia won 84 times, and CSKA Sofia won 72 times. The rest resulted in a draw. These are the official statistics from both teams, but it’s important to note that the matches resulting in penalties are considered to be a draw. The overall score is 293:284 in favor of Levski Sofia.

CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia played a game on the 7th of October 2023 ending in a draw of 1:1. Their next match is scheduled for the 6th of April 2024. Both teams are having a bad season. CSKA Sofia is still in the running for the national league championship, but it’s safe to say Levski is out. 

Olympiacos vs. Panathinaikos

 A derby between two of the best Greek football teams is also a local derby of Athens and one that’s the subject of a decades-long rivalry between the fans. The rivalry has a complex political and cultural background. Panathinaikos was founded in 1908 and it’s considered to be the club favored by the upper classes. Olympiacos was founded in 1925 and it’s based in the port working-class area of Athens and that’s where most of its fans come from as well.

In total, Olympiacos won 87 of the games played against Panathinaikos and Panathinaikos won 54 with 74 games ending in a tie. These games were played in a variety of different leagues and cups as the Greek National Football League went through many changes over the years.

The two teams will meet again on the 22nd of November this year. They are deadlocked for first place in the League and Olympiacos won the last 4 out of five of its games and is therefore waiting for its long-term rival ready as ever.

Sarajevo vs. Željezničar

The Sarajevo derby, also known as the Eternal derby (Bosnian: Vječiti derbi), is the name given to any football match between rival clubs Željezničar and Sarajevo, the two primary clubs in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the most viewed annual sporting event in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[1]

During the match, fans usually create a competitive atmosphere with big flags, paper rolls, scarfs and loud chanting. It is not uncommon to see members of the same family on opposite sides, not speaking to each other on the day of the derby, with opposing fans engaging in mutual provocations at the end of the match, eagerly awaiting the next confrontation although, in recent years, this has led to clashes between some younger fans.


Balkan is the home to some of the most famous and contentious football rivalries in the world. These aren’t just adversarial relationships between the teams but also between their fan bases and often different cities or regions as well.

What’s especially interesting is how deep the rivalries go and how often they represent wider political and cultural differences between the societies. For football fans, these matches are the most important events of the year and they always present a spectacle as well as a chance to bet on the outcome and possibly win big in the process.