Bochum 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
(Polter pen. 40' — Brandt 85')
"Only FC Bayern will be German champions!" taunted the Bochum supporters on either side of the away end, brandishing a blue and white "Anti-Dortmund!" flag.
There are cordial relations between fans of Bochum and Bayern Munich, one of German football's so-called fan friendships, so this derby draw will have come with more than a hint of schadenfreude.
Julian Brandt's late equalizer cancelled out Sebastian Polter's first-half penalty, and it was no more than Dortmund deserved on balance.
But with Bayern simultaneously following up their Klassiker triumph with victory over Mainz, BVB are now six points adrift of the Bavarians.
With arch-rivals Schalke having been relegated, Borussia Dortmund supporters will have pencilled in the two fixtures against newly-promoted neighbors Bochum as a chance to renew a local rivalry.
Barely 20 kilometers separate the two cities in Germany's formerly industrial and football-mad Ruhr region, but thetwo teams hadn't met in over 11 years.
"A sort of derby 2.0, just better," wrote BVB online fanzine Schwatzgelb. "Schalke derbies are dead, so it's VfL Bochum who we'll have to love to hate. Don't you dare get relegated!"
There's little danger of that. The draw against Dortmund meant that Bochum have now only lost two of their last eight Bundesliga games and are sitting comfortably in mid-table.
"We're so proud of them!" exclaimed one Bochum supporter at full-time, sat on a couch in the stadium's "fan living room" as a reward for his 30 years of support. "We have a second division team and we've held one of the top teams in Europe to a draw."
Bochum, "deep in the west" of Germany as the song by cult singer Herbert Grönemeyer goes, are sandwiched between Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen, home of Schalke. But for 15,500 season ticket holders here, Bochum offers them something the bigger clubs can't.
"Bochum is proper football, like from 20 years ago," another fan told DW. "We'd been looking forward to this game ever since promotion. I couldn't sleep last night."
With COVID-19 infection rates on the rise in Germany, capacity at Bundesliga stadiums remained limited - only 13,799 fans were in attendance at the Ruhrstadion, including 675 from Dortmund.
Like at most German clubs, Bochum's hardcore, vocal ultras were also absent – but, for once, it didn't affect the atmosphere.
Many German fanbases seem to struggle without the coordinated chanting led by the ultras, but not in Bochum, where supporters got behind their team with a rich and varied repertoire of songs more reminiscent of a classic British atmosphere – even as Dortmund came flying out after halftime and piled on the pressure.
Maxim Leitsch cleared off the line, goalkeeper Manuel Riemann saved from Marco Reus, Erhan Masovic beat Erling Haaland to the ball before the Norwegian headed over and Jude Bellingham saw a shot blocked.
And when Marius Wolf finally forced the ball over the line, the video assistant referee intervened, pointing out that Bellingham had been blocking the goalkeeper's view in an offside position.
"I can't criticize the players too much, they did absolutely everything until the final minute – just one more goal was missing," said Dortmund coach Alexander Zickler, standing in for suspended head coach Marco Rose.
"Three points would have been important to keep up with Bayern."
That's now looking increasingly difficult from Borussia Dortmund's point of view. But for their neighbors from Bochum, that's absolutely fine. They've done their friends in Munich a big favor.