It might seem odd to say, but there are things more important than winning for many sides in the first round of the German Cup. Bonn may have lost to Hannover 96 but, for the club as a whole, the day was a victory.
Starting the season with the first round of the cup is often seen as a useful way to extend the preseason for Bundesliga sides and in Saturday's German Cup games that seemed to be the case, as all the top flight sides progressed without much alarm. But Sunday served a timely reminder that the first round itself represents an achievement of great significance for lower-league teams.
Bonn is famous because of Ludwig van Beethoven and for once being capital of West Germany, but it often finds itself in nearby Cologne's shadow. The club got so excited for their first round game they produced their own cup kit, perhaps purposefully making the red more maroon in an attempt to channel Barcelona.
Making it to the first round is a big deal for Bonner SC, as the city's team is called. Only a couple of years ago the side were languishing in the fifth division. But now they're a solid midtable side in the fourth tier, trying to make the big step towards the third division. Fittingly they beat a side from Cologne, third-division Fortuna Köln, to earn the right to host Hannover on Sunday.
As a result, for the first time since the late 1970s, Bonn sold out a home game. The running track-encircled ground of Sportpark Nord harks back to a forgotten era of football, but an impressive 9,650 fans made it in, to the evident surprise of staff. So many tickets were sold that people were watching over shoulders at the top of the steps that lead down to the packed standing section. On the other side of the ground, some fans climbed trees to get a better view.
What they saw for the first 25 minutes felt like part of cup magic that had largely been noticeable in its absence in this first round of the German Cup. Bonn took the lead, the stadium's atmosphere went up another notch and the first seeds of that addictive football feeling called hope were sown.
"Berlin, Berlin, we're off to Berlin" rang around the stadium. Soon afterwards, "First division and no one knows why" rang around as Bonn took the opportunity to poke some footballing fun at Hannover's lethargic display.
Andre Breitenreiter's side was poor, and they might be forgiven for being so given the tentative situation at the club that has seen fans refuse to "create atmosphere" in protest at Martin Kind's attempt to take full control of the club. That protest continued in Bonn, with little more than a polite ripple of applause coming from the visiting fans when their side eventually picked off the lower league side.
The 6-2 final scoreline didn't reflect the game at all, though. Hannover weren't that good, and Bonn were certainly not that bad.
"It's already a dream, and to dream within a dream isn't really possible," Bonn's club president Dirk Mazurkiewicz told local newspaper "General-Anzeiger" before the game, but dream Bonn should. Their moment in the sun, both figurateively and literally, was one worth savoring.
"I have to take time to realize what has happened really. I was playing sixth division football last season," goalscorer Lars Loktosch said afterwards.
According to Mazurkiewicz, the club expects to make a record 150,000 euros ($177,000) from the day. They aren't the only beneficiaries. Rielasingen-Arlen, who got to play Borussia Dortmund in Freiburg's stadium on a sunny afternoon, will also have proited from the day. Freiburg striker Nils Petersen scored against his dad's team Germania Halberstadt, but the Bundesliga side only just won. Osnabrück took home the biggest prize of them all after beating Hamburg.
Bonn's head coach Daniel Zillken said afterwards, "We have written history. For the Bonn fans, for the region." History, particularly in a forgotten city like Bonn, is worth savouring - especially when you're making it.