Grêmio vs Internacional: 5 of the Best Games in the Grenal Derby's History

Josh Sim
Gremio v Internacional - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020
Gremio v Internacional - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 / Bruna Prado/Getty Images

A rivalry that has lasted for over a century, the Grenal derby has never disappointed in providing fireworks, both in terms of the sparkling football and off-ball drama.

Grêmio and Internacional have contested some feisty encounters over the years and both sides have never quite been able to dominate this fixture, with Inter winning just 23 more of their 424 encounters that have been played in total.

So having read the story behind one of Brazil's biggest derbies, here are five of the greatest clashes in Grenal's long and proud history.

Grêmio 10-0 Internacional (1909)

What looked set to be a momentous occasion in Internacional's history ended up being a day to forget for the newly created club.

It was the Poppe brothers, founders of Colorado, who decided for their very first game to challenge their rivals Grêmio. The older team agreed, but offered to field a reserve team for the match, which was quickly refused - a decision that backfired badly on Clube do Pavo.

In front of a passionate crowd of 2,000, Imortal Tricolor ran riot, tearing their opponents to pieces in a comprehensive 10-0 thrashing. German forward Edgar Booth would end up scoring five goals himself for the home side, while the Grêmio goalkeeper Kallfelz ended up abandoning his goal during the game to have a chat with supporters instead.

A century later, the result remains the biggest victory in the derby's history.

Internacional 2-1 Grêmio (1989)

This remains the encounter that defines the Grenal rivalry - so much so, that it's referred to as the 'Grenal of the Century'.

The first-leg of this Campeonato Brasileiro Série A championship semi-final had ended goalless, and lined up at the Estádio Beira-Rio knowing fully that both a place in the final and qualification for the following season's Copa Libertadores were the prize for the winner.

On a scorching hot day, the away side started the game well, and soon took the lead through Marcus Vinicius. With Colorado then having their right-back Casemiro sent off just before half-time, the stage looked set for Grêmio to claim a huge away victory.

But as the game went on, the hosts worked their way back into the match. And they got their reward, as top-scorer Nílson equalised to draw his team level. With momentum truly on their side, Inter pushed hard for a winner.

When their midfielder Maurício shot from distance, the ball looked to be heading wide for a goal-kick. But up popped Nílson again, who diverted it into the back of the net, to complete the turnaround. Despite defending with ten men, Clube do Pavo held on for the famous win, which is regarded as one of the best in the derby's history.

Grêmio 1-0 Internacional (1999)

To Grêmio fans, this is widely remembered as the game a young teenager named Ronaldinho burst onto the scene.

With both teams winning a game each, it came down to the third and final game in the series to decide the winner of the 1999 Campeonato Gaúcho championship. And knowing how dangerous Imortal Tricolor's young star could be, Internacional coach Paulo Autuori instructed the hard-as-nails World-Cup winning captain Dunga to man-mark the prodigy throughout the game.

As Autuori found out, that move would not stop the future Barcelona star at all. Dunga was given a torrid time by Ronaldinho, who put on a dazzling show of tricks, including his signature elástico move to embarrass the veteran midfielder.

And it was his brilliant individual goal, that included a one-two and nutmeg in the build-up, that gave Grêmio the crucial win that won them the championship. While the game isn't remembered as a classic, the match-winning display of Ronaldinho remains a sheer delight to watch to this day.

Internacional 1-1 Grêmio (2006)

Both sides met each other again in another Campeonato Gaúcho championship final, and with the first-leg ending goalless, it would all come down to the all-important return fixture.

In a noisy Estádio Beira-Rio, neither team could find a way to score in the first-half. But it was the hosts who drew first blood, as a goal from Fernandão put Internacional in front.

Yet Grêmio were determined to fight back, and pressed hard for an equaliser. With the game heading into the closing stages, substitute Pedro Júnior found the net for the visitors, setting off wild celebrations amongst the travelling 6,000 Gremistas.

And the late equaliser ended up being the deciding factor, as Imortal Tricolor ended up lifting the championship on away-goals. It ended Internacional's hopes of winning a fifth consecutive state title too, making this a highly memorable game for every Grêmio supporter.

Grêmio 0-0 Internacional (2020)

This isn't a game to remember for the football - rather it's the off-ball antics that will catch your eye.

It was always going to be a tasty affair between the two rivals, who were drawn in the same Copa Libertadores group, and had never played each other before in the competition. And boy, did the tension spill over in spectacular fashion.

With the game itself heading for a goalless draw, Internacional player Moisés and Grêmio's Pepe squared up, which was quickly spotted by the referee. But just as cooler heads seemed to have prevailed, an exchange of words kick-started the fighting again, with substitutes and staff getting involved in what became a mass brawl.

It lasted for a staggering ten minutes and when the dust settled, both sides ended with eight players-a-side as three from each team were sent-off by the officials, as well as a substitute each.

This would be one of the last games to be played in Brazil before football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's fair to say the two teams finished with a bang, quite literally.