The result leaves Bayern Munich with a seven-point advantage at the top of the table and in sight of being crowned German champion for the eighth consecutive season.
He would have to lose points in at least three of his remaining six games and that would require a vulnerability that Bayern hardly ever shows.
Joshua Kimmich scored the crucial goal, shortly before halftime, with his clever chip from outside Dortmund’s penalty area that beat goalkeeper Roman Bürki. It was a sublime touch for a defensive midfielder and one we might have expected to see from one of the two star strikers who started the game.
This had been announced as a match between Robert Lewandowski of Bayern and Erling Braut Haaland of Dortmund.
Lewandowski, the experienced and prolific former Dortmund striker, is the top scorer in the Bundesliga. Haaland, the phenomenon of adolescence, is coveted by some of the biggest clubs on the planet for its pace, strength and skill at goal.
However, neither of them found the back of the net in this game, although Lewandowski saw a deflected shot on the post in the second half, and Haaland’s game ended early when he limped twenty minutes from time.
The end-of-season meetings between Bayern and Dortmund have been one-way in recent seasons. The Munich team won the last three games for a total of 15 goals to one.
However, this game seemed to be different since Dortmund started off brilliantly, even putting the ball in the net in the 10th minute, although the goal was annulled for offside.
As the match progressed, Bayern’s dominance increased and, after Kimmich’s goal, it was difficult to see another winner. Perhaps even Dortmund believed it because there were no protests in the second half when television replays showed that a shot by Haaland had hit the arm of Bayern defender Jerome Boateng.
VAR officials were silent, like the rest of Signal Iduna Park, and there was no penalty.
Dortmund’s cause was not helped by his unusually quiet stadium. Its cavernous stadium resonated only with the sound of player shouting and the ball pounding from boot to boot, rather than the usual noise created by 80,000 fans. Spectators are still banned from eliminating the health risk that a combination of Covid-19 and large crowds would pose.
For neutral fans and sports fans around the world, so hungry for top-notch action right now, Bayern’s victory could be seen as a disappointment. For some, it could make the rest of the Bundesliga season a little less attractive.