When it was all over, Bastian Schweinsteiger ran straight into the team bus, unshowered and unchanged, like a teenager going into his room without dessert after a reprimand from his parents. The 27-year-old was (probably) upset about not starting the game – Jupp Heynckes brought him on for Thomas "invisible man" Müller after 60 minutes – as well as disappointed with a result that more or less confirmed Borussia Dortmund's championship. Last year's Meister are now six points clear of second-placed Bayern with four games to go.
Fortunately for Schweinsteiger's team-mates, the midfielder didn't stew in his own stink on a six-hour bus drive home: his team took the plane back to Munich on Thursday morning. But the stench will have lingered. Even though Bild's take on Dortmund's 1-0 win at the Westfalenstadion – "Bayern throw the title away" – was unfair to the home side, that's precisely how it must have felt in the red and white dressing room after the club's most traumatic end to a match since Clive Tyldesley ruined a perfectly good pair of trousers in Catalonia. So much for the infamous "Bayern-Dusel" then, their proverbial, fiendish ability to get perennially lucky late on.
Let's take it from the top. Mario Gomez's header from a free-kick was the first shot on goal but that didn't set the tone. Dortmund outran, out-thought and outplayed the visitors throughout the first half. Bayern had Manuel Neuer (great save from Kevin Grosskreutz) the post (Robert Lewandowski header) and some wayward finishing (Jakub Blaszczykowski) to thank for not going behind but couldn't get forward at all. Dortmund's perfect positioning in midfield, where they pressed near the halfway line, created a kind of yellow "kill box" in the centre of the park: no one in red came out of it alive, ie with the ball. On the wings, too, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry were asphyxiated by blanket coverage. A Toni Kroos shot from distance was the best they could muster.
While Müller found himself abandoned deep behind enemy lines and Gomez was unable to hold up any balls, Lewandowski was simply sensational. The Polish striker, who started earlier games only because of Lucas Barrios's injury, made every clearance look like a pin-point pass. The 23-year-old won everything. He ran the Bayern back four ragged all by himself, teed up the next wave of yellows and later decided the game with an opportunistic clever back-heel. It really was a monster of the match performance of epic, trophy-winning proportions.
Franz Beckenbauer, commentating live for German TV, professed disappointment with Bayern. "There's not enough movement, there's no structure, the defence doesn't function," said the Kaiser. "You are always a little harsher with your own children," he explained, somewhat apologetically. "I just want them to play football."
And football they did play, in the second half. After a smiling Neuer had cleared the goalmouth of a dozen non-racist bananas – the keeper had parodied Oliver Kahn's gorilla-ish behaviour in a win against Bayern with Schalke a couple of years ago – Bayern kept the ball much better, aided by the introduction of Schweinsteiger and Dortmund's intensity dropping just a tiny bit. – Bayern kept the ball much better, aided by the introduction of Schweinsteiger and Dortmund's intensity dropping just a tiny bit. "We were a little tired," admitted the defender Neven Subotic.
Bayern's dominance yielded few clear-cut openings, however. Just when a 0-0 draw looked a like a decent, mutually agreeable result, Bayern were caught out of position and conceded a corner. The half-cleared cross from Marcel Schmelzer eventually found Grosskreutz who didn't quite catch it properly. On the six-yard line Lewandowski reacted quickest and guided the ball past Neuer with the deftest of touches. The goal had come against the run of play after the break but Dortmund had done more enough to deserve a bit of luck.
From Bayern's point of view, it was a comedy of errors. Robben had been too slow to come off the goalline after the corner and played Lewandowski on; instead of running out, the Dutchman merely skipped forward, waving an imaginary offside flag. Perhaps even more unforgivable, though, was that David Alaba, Ivica Olic and Jérôme Boateng jumped up and turned their backs on Grosskreutz's rather tame effort, instead of standing their ground.
What was a compelling, slowly simmering oeuvre then exploded into full-on drama. Roman Weidenfeller got his angles and timing all wrong to bring down Robben in the box. "There was no contact," Weidenfeller pleaded later.
Robben, who'd converted all of his eight Bundesliga penalties to date, produced little more than a back-pass, however. Subotic, perhaps still excited by all those bananas, ran up to him and shouted unspeakables from point-blank range. "I told him that I don't like diving," explained the Serbian defender, with a smile. Then Robben, the bald "ego-shooter" (Bild), topped that by missing a sitter from two yards out. A tragic hat-trick. "It's embarrassing," Robben said. "It's so disappointing, I don't know what to say. Dortmund's made a giant step forward. We can say they're almost champions."
There was still time for Lewandowski to hit the bar before the final whistle was greeted like the end of the season by 75,000 home fans. The Westfalenstadion was shaking with joy; "we are full of adrenalin," said Grosskreutz. Klopp felt that beating Bayern four times in a row, a feat not managed since Otto Rehhagel's Werder Bremen had a hex over their southern rivals 20 years ago, was an "almost impossible" achievement. "We can hardly play any better," he said. As ever, the 44-year-old was reluctant to acknowledge the true extent of the win as far as the title race was concerned. "A lot of it can happen [before the end of the season], our [Schalke] friends from Gelsenkirchen will try to make it very hard for us on Saturday," he said. "But we'll have three days to celebrate and enjoy [tonight's] extraordinary event." Weidenfeller was also unwilling to look too far ahead. "It's not about some kind of decision, it's about winning the next game," said the completely bilingual 31-year-old.
Bayern were remarkably philosophical in defeat, perhaps eager not to get too depressed ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid and the DFB Cup final (against Dortmund, again). "Dortmund had the better chances over the 90 minutes, their win was in order," said Christian Nerlinger, Bayern's general manager. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was unhappy about "a needless and unfortunate defeat" but conceded that it would be "very hard to prevent Dortmund winning the title now". "They hold all the aces, that much is clear," said Heynckes.
Borussia's title defence will go down as an ever bigger act of heroics than last year's surprising dominance. But for Bayern, the club that can only win titles or fail abjectly, their promising season is now only a Cristiano Ronaldo away goal or two from turning into a complete write-off.
• Arjen Robben's private Passion play deflected from the almost equally dismal evening Roman Hubnik endured on Tuesday night. The Hertha BSC defender did everything a player could do in a single game, short of helping out in goal or doing an emergency stint as a linesman, Jimmy Hill-style. First, he scored an own goal against Freiburg. Then he made a mistake before the visitors's second strike. Hubnik proceeded to score a goal for the home side, then damaged ligaments in his knee and hobbled off. He'll be out for 10 days, "as long as it might take for Hertha to go down", Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote. The team from the capital found some solace in the bad results of other relegation fighters ("nothing has changed," insisted the increasingly detached Otto Rehhagel) but look horribly doomed. Maybe what they need is yet another manager, their fourth of the campaign?
• Lukas Podolski won the plaudits away at Mainz – but not for his performance. The Germany striker was struck by a coin below the left eye; a substitution and subsequent appeal by Köln may have caused problems for the home side. "I didn't think for one second about taking advantage of the situation," Podolski said. The Mainz general manager Christian Heidel praised Podolski for not staying down ("great compliment") and promised swift retribution for the culprit. Köln's utterly rubbish showing has the board wondering whether Stale Solbakken's hard-core zonal marking system is really the best idea for the remaining four matches but the time of writing, the Norwegian was still in charge.
• Kaiserslautern are nearly relegated after a 3-1 defeat by Europa League contenders Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg's 4-0 "catastrophe" (Heiko Westermann) amounted to an "application for the second division", felt Kicker. "The team knows what's possible after Tuesday's results [of the opposition]," the manager Thorsten Fink had said. The northerns can only hope that their rivals in squeaky bum territory will be even worse before this nightmare season draws to a close.
Results: Dortmund 1-0 Bayern, Nürnberg 4-1 Schalke, Hoffenheim 4-0 Hamburg, Leverkusen 3-1 Kaiserslautern, Hannover 2-0 Wolfsburg, Hertha 1-2 Freiburg, Augsburg 1-3 Stuttgart, Mainz 4-0 Köln, Bremen 2-2 Mönchengladbach.