These days, when organised football and its fans are once again arguing about how much commerce and staging the game can tolerate, it is worth remembering the 2013 Champions League final. Before Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund dueled for Europe's most important title in what is probably Europe's most famous stadium, there had been a bizarre Ritter show at Wembley. After almost ten minutes of crazy battle spectacle with hundreds of amateur actors, the costumed club heroes Paul Breitner and Lars Ricken carried the trophy into the arena. Only the kick-off redeemed the spectators.
This Thursday marks exactly ten years since Bayern and Dortmund fought their big duel after the disturbing prelude. Robben's best shot decided a game that was an expression of the dominance of German football. BVB was the hottest football project in Europe, with coach Jürgen Klopp and players like Robert Lewandowski at the beginning of world careers. And FC Bayern was the dreaded "bestia negra", the black beast that reached the final of the Champions League for the third time in four years. Together, they formed the core of the national team that became world champions in Rio a year later.
As of May 2023, both clubs have long since stepped down from the European stage. Nevertheless, they deliver a thrilling duel, this time in the Bundesliga. With a little black and yellow in the lenses, you can even draw the parallel that a Dortmund team with a coach Terzic and players like Bellingham and Adeyemi is competing at the beginning of great careers. Only the Bavarians are currently not recognizable as a great team, even with a benevolent interpretation.
The fact that, after years of paralyzing monotony, the German championship is once again offering excitement at the top until the last matchday of the season may therefore be a gift for fans and spectators. Unlike ten years ago, however, the duel between Dortmund and Bayern is a sign of weakness rather than a sign of strength. But there is at least some good news for the Bundesliga and its fans: A knight's show before the kick-off of the final matchday is not yet planned.