The result leaves Bayern Munich with a seven-point lead at the top of the standings and in view of being crowned German champion for the eighth consecutive season.
Points would have to be lost in at least three of their six remaining matches and that would require a vulnerability that Bayern hardly ever shows.
Joshua Kimmich scored the crucial goal shortly before half-time with his clever chip from outside Dortmund’s penalty area, beating goalkeeper Roman Bürki. It was a sublime touch for a defensive midfielder and one that we might have expected to see from one of the two star attackers who started the game.
This had been presented as a confrontation 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 teenage phenomenon, is coveted by some of the biggest clubs in the world for its pace, its strength and its prowess to score.
However, neither found the back of the net in this match – although Lewandowski saw a deflected shot hit the post in the second period – and Haaland’s match ended early when he limped twenty minutes after the end.
The late season games between Bayern and Dortmund have been one-sided in recent seasons. The Munich team has won its last three games of this type by a total of 15 goals to one.
However, the match seemed different as Dortmund started off brilliantly – even putting the ball in the net in the 10th minute, although the goal was denied for offside.
As the match progressed, Bayern’s dominance increased and after Kimmich’s goal it was difficult to see another winner. Perhaps Dortmund even believed it because there was no protest in the second half when the televised reruns showed that a shot from 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 sanction.
Dortmund’s cause was not helped by his unusually calm stadium. Their cavernous stadium resonated only with the noise of the players’ cries and the ball that rattled from boot to boot, instead of the usual noise wall created by 80,000 fans. Spectators are still prohibited to eliminate the health risk posed by a combination of Covid-19 and large crowds.
For neutral fans and sports enthusiasts around the world, so hungry for top-flight action right now, Bayern’s victory could be considered a disappointment. For some, this could make the rest of the Bundesliga season even less attractive.