Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich remains the Bundesliga’s showpiece game. The latest edition provided little of the quality that comes with these historic games, but it remains the showpiece for good reasons.
Borussia Dortmund might not be top of the pops, but home or away the game against Bayern Munich remains the Bundesliga’s hit single. Dortmund's 1-0 home defeat at the start of April was far from as entertaining as the reverse fixture in Munich, but the fixture continues to be Germany's big game of football.
This is the fixture that delivered Neven Subotic's emotional reaction following Arjen Robben's penalty miss in the 2011/12 season, the goalscoring return of Mario Götze to Dortmund in 2013 and the Champions League final many consider to be the most competitive in the last five years. Sadly, Bayern's 1-0 win in Dortmund in 2015 failed to deliver another notable chapter to the pair's story.
What promised much, slowly became a tactical battle with only one player in control. A gritty affair was one Dortmund started losing the moment they didn't score early or adapt a follow-up strategy. Bayern, having weathered the storm, grew into the game, controlled it and took one of their few chances. The narrative is not a new one.
Perhaps the fact that once again a former Dortmund player won the game for Bayern is worthy of note though. Robert Lewandowski's awareness in the box was the difference, and proved another stab to Dortmund fans already bleeding in disappointment. It was clear that Mario Götze is Judas around these parts - the boos were never louder than when he arrived on the pitch - but Lewandowski scoring the winner will still have been a painful reminder of what they once had.
The Polish striker is one of many things that Dortmund used to have, and the rise and rise of Wolfsburg has left many wondering whether Germany’s showpiece game is due a change in color. While this game was a reminder of how great the gap between these two has become in the last five years, the fact there is so much more at stake than three points is what makes this game bigger than the current top-two battle.
The glorious pre-game choreography, the volume levels of both sets of supporters and the emotional battle that ensued: These are all reasons to savor this meeting, even if the home side were shorter of their best this time out. That much was clear long before the moment the sun began to set just over the Signal Iduna Park words atop of the stadium.