A loss for Bayern Munich and a win for Borussia Dortmund in the round before the Der Klassiker means the Bundesliga title race has suddenly become interesting again. At the end of the 90 minutes at the Westfalenstadion, it might become boring old Bayern cruising to the title once more, but if Dortmund manage to beat Pep Guardiola's men Saturday, we will have a Bundesliga title race on our hands.
Bayern crashed to a surprising (when is it not when they lose in the Bundesliga) 2-1 loss to Mainz, Wednesday, leaving the door just a tad open for Dortmund to try and sneak through. Dortmund took the first step towards that by beating Darmstadt 2-0 on the same day, but to open up that solid title door a bit more and decrease the gap at the top of the Bundesliga to just two points, Tomas Tuchel's men need a win in front of their home fans.
"The advantage is smaller now, but the game on Saturday has no more significance because of what happened," Dortmund manager Tuchel told Bundesliga's official website. "We would have approached the game with the same excitement, just now we have a better situation in terms of the table.
"We worked hard to be in this position and we've been consistently taking points for the last few weeks. It's up to us now to take the next step. Obviously, we're going to give it everything to cut the deficit further."
If it is because of Guardiola announcing his departure in the summer or the injury problems at the back or just sheer complacency, Bayern Munich have not been at their absolute best, and Borussia Dortmund, provided they execute their plans to perfection Saturday, do have a really good opportunity to pick up all three points.
However, if Bayern find their attacking mojo against Dortmund, as they so easily can, then that Bundesliga title race will go only one way. They are the champions for a reason, and the best of teams turn up when the going gets tough.
Bayern have the personnel and quality to beat any side in the world, and what better way to end the title race than to land a heavy blow to your title rivals at their own backyard? Or, at least, that is what they will think.
If they can actually manage it, time will tell.
Der Klassiker schedule: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich.
Date: Saturday, March 5.
Time: 11 pm IST (6.30 pm CET, 5.30 pm GMT, 12.30 pm ET).
Venue: Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion).
TV listings: India: Star Sports 1/HD1. Germany: Sky Bundesliga 1 HD. UK: BT Sport Europe. USA: Fox Sports and Fox Soccer. Canada: Sportsnet World. Australia and France: Bein Sports.