Later on today, minds will be cast back to last season’s Champions League final before looking forward to a match between the Bundesliga’s heaviest of heavy weights.
It is not often that the majority of English football fans turn their attention to another country’s domestic schedule. Perhaps only when the whistle blows for each new El Clasico are attentions so avidly switched from the Premier League and the Football League to matters abroad.
But the resurgence of the Bundesliga – and two teams in particular – has added another match to that “must-see” list. And the latest is this afternoon, as Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich in a game that could decide far more than bragging rights and who gets the latest three points.
Given how tight it is at the peak of Germany’s top flight, a win for either side could – ultimately – determine if it is Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola who secures the title; the man doing an outstanding job or the man brought in to replace someone who did the impossible one.
But there is a third manager in the mix who could upset the odds come May, who will no doubt be praying for a draw this evening.
Sami Hyypia’s Bayer Leverkusen have followed up last year’s impressive exploits to sit just two points behind Dortmund and four behind leaders Bayern this campaign.
Should the top two draw today – and Leverkusen win away to Hertha BSC – Hyypia’s men will be just two points off top spot.
Should they then avoid defeat away to Dortmund on 7 December, there could be the very real possibility of a wedge between the current top two, and both sides knowing there is a third man – or more specifically a group of third men – with a very real chance of winning the title.
There is, of course, a very long way to go. But for today at least, Hyypia will be thinking only two things. First he must inspire his side to victory, and then he will sit back and watch his biggest domestic rivals, hoping that neither side wins.
image: © Dmitry Neymyrok