Chivas and Atlas are set to face off as the No. 3 and No. 6 seeds respectively in the 2017 Clausura playoffs. Get the scoop on the history of the rivalry and more below!
The Clasico Tapatio ... has been going on for over 100 years and is the oldest and most organic rivalry in Mexican football, pitting the traditionally working class Chivas against the more moneyed Atlas (although those lines are now blurred). The Guadalajara derby sees bona fide national giants Chivas face Atlas, an institution with a devout local fan base that remains loyal despite failing to win a league title since 1951.
This rivalry is comparable to ... Manchester United vs. Manchester City a little (before Sheikh Mansour bought the latter in 2008). They may share a city, but United, like Chivas, are historically a huge club with support from all over the country, whereas City's fan base has tended to be local like Atlas.
History / biggest moments
For Atlas fans, there are two key moments: The fabled 18-0 victory in January 1917 -- which may or may not have happened -- and the 1-0 win over Chivas in the penultimate round of matches in 1951, which saw the team lift its one and only league title. Even today in tianguis (street markets) around Guadalajara it isn't difficult to find a photoshopped portrait of the "Atlas 1951 champions," with the players dressed as cavemen. Only Chivas fans buy it, obviously.
For Los Rojiblancos, the most emblematic image has to be goalkeeper Jaime "Tubo" Gomez sat by the post reading a comic strip during first half in the April 1955 Clasico Tapatio with the match going on in the distance. Chivas were 3-0 up at the time and went on to win 5-0.
The big players
Jaime Gomez: It wasn't just that Gomez read a comic strip as Atlas fans taunted from behind the goal; the goalkeeper was an integral part of one of the golden eras of the rivalry. By all accounts, Gomez was hurt by Atlas becoming the first team from the city to win a league title in the professional era, but he went on to get revenge as part of the era-defining "Campeonismo" period of Chivas' history, while Atlas' long trophy drought took hold.
Oswaldo Sanchez: Handed his debut at Atlas under Marcelo Bielsa in 1993, Sanchez was a homegrown hero with huge potential. After a stint with Club America, he signed for Chivas, becoming a club legend and celebrating victories over Los Rojinegros with passion. The polemic chant toward the opposition keeper at games in Mexico is said to have been started by Atlas supporters aiming it toward Sanchez.
Omar Bravo: Chivas' highest-ever goalscorer has been loved and hated on both sides of the Guadalajara football divide. The Sinaloa native spent two spells at Chivas before making a shock move to Atlas in 2012, where he was met with protest banners. Surprisingly, Bravo won most fans around with his leadership and goals -- and especially the celebration when he scored against Chivas just after signing. But then Chivas brought him back to the club at the end of 2013.
The top three games
1. The Guadalajara teams met in the Liguilla quarterfinals during the 2004 Apertura and it was Atlas who managed to advance. Chivas were down 4-0 on aggregate at half-time in the second leg, but gave their rival a scare when they netted three second-half goals. Chivas also missed a penalty in each game as Los Rojinegros advanced 4-3 on aggregate over the two legs.
2. The passion spilled over into violence in the 2015 Clausura quarterfinals. After a boring 0-0 draw in the first leg, Chivas dominated the second game, taking a 3-1 lead into half-time. When Atlas failed to make an impact after the break, the sight of Marco Fabian scoring a hat trick and former player Bravo netting the fourth proved too much and fans attempted to storm the Estadio Jalisco field.
3. This 2015 Clausura regular-season encounter was level at 1-1, but Atlas fans believed their team deserved a win and time was running out. Then, suddenly, the referee pointed to the spot. Atlas had a golden opportunity to grab the victory.
Up stepped youth-team product and Atlas fan darling Arturo "Ponchito" Gonzalez, who attempted an outlandish Panenka that almost fooled Chivas keeper Luis Michel, although the veteran managed to find his footing and claw the ball back.
What the players say
"I feel that Guadalajara versus Atlas has its roots from a long time ago and [the Clasico Nacional] against America was in some way fabricated, constructed and used marketing and publicity tools to generate hype." -- Former Chivas player and coach Alberto Guerra.
"The city lives it intensely. There are two games you can't lose: America and Atlas. Personally, and with the players I know, there is more rivalry [against Atlas]. Those of us who come out of Chivas and from Atlas' youth system have faced each other in Guadalajra since we were kids." -- Ex-Chivas player Marco Fabian.
"On the field, it is a must win -- fighting for balls to death. You know every game is important, but this type of encounter gives you a different flavor ... There is nothing better than beating Chivas." -- Former Atlas player Arturo Gonzalez.
What the fans say
- Edson (@e_cmch) 9 de febrero de 2017
- Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) 9 de febrero de 2017
"Atlas is not about titles. Atlas is about passion, style of play, philosophy and, of course, loyalty ... It doesn't matter if Atlas is playing good or not. The stadium is always full ... When [Chivas] are not playing well the stadium is empty. So, yeah, I honestly think they are bandwagoners sometimes and they always want to see their team winning. Atlas is different."