Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 in their first clash of the Bundesliga season - in Munich's Allianz Arena. Bayern still have an 11-point advantage over their biggest rivals.
Having already seemingly broken all the records there were to break before the winter, there was less pressure on Bayern Munich going into the German "El Classico" - "Der Klassiker" it should be called - against Borussia Dortmund. It was a game that Bayern claimed they could have sold 500,000 tickets for before the match - or more than seven times the capacity of their Allianz Arena stadium.
But though they had an 11-point advantage over their biggest rivals going into the game, Bayern still had plenty of points to prove against the champions. One stat might have stuck in the Bavarians' craw particularly - they had lost the last four league meetings between the two sides. In other words, Bayern's last Bundesliga victory over Jürgen Klopp's team was as long ago as February 13, 2010.
The first half showed what a canny operator Klopp has become since then. With a row of earnest TV experts predicting a fast-flowing, high-scoring game between two teams "who only know how to attack," Klopp packed his midfield, effectively neutralizing Franck Ribery and Philipp Lahm on Bayern's flanks and isolating forward Mario Mandzukic.
To add injury to insult, from the 37th minute, the Bavarians had to make do without strapping defender Holger Badstuber, who appeared to twist his knee badly in a challenge on Mario Götze.
Dortmund were disciplined and compact, and reduced the hosts to trying their luck from set-pieces. Indeed, at half-time, the statisticians said that Bayern had failed to register a shot on goal after the 16th minute.
Dortmund turn up heat
Having absorbed the worst that Bayern could throw at them, Dortmund ventured forward at the start of the second. In the 52nd minute, defender Mats Hummels almost got a cheeky flick into the net from a free-kick while Bayern were still dithering over setting up their wall. Then four minutes later Götze was gifted a free header in front of goal, but the diminutive midfielder could only nod it softly into Manuel Neuer's arms.
But that pressure didn't last, and Bayern began imposing themselves on Dortmund more and more, particularly down the right through the irrepressible Ribery. Just a minute after a long cross caused a goalmouth scramble and a penalty appeal from the hosts, Toni Kroos received the ball by the area, and beat two defenders by taking it onto his left foot and slotting it past Roman Weidenfäller into the corner.
Then Kroos was culpable when Dortmund's equalizer came in the 74th minute - thanks to an elementary marking mistake at a corner. Götze, just inside the penalty area, was in about ten yards of space as the ball was nodded out to him. With plenty of time to pick a spot, the young midfielder spanked an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.
The remainder of the game was marked by relentless Bayern pressure, with Jupp Heynckes bringing on Mario Gomez for the final ten minutes to force a winner. It took sensational saves from Weidenfäller to keep Dortmund level at the death. Though honor was probably not satisfied for Bayern, the result was clearly better for them in the title race.