Borussia Dortmund were knocked out of the German Cup in the Round of 16 following a shock defeat to St Pauli on Tuesday night.
Dortmund won the competition last season, the final being a 4-1 win against RB Leipzig. It was their first cup trophy since 2017.
With Bayern Munich looking dominant in the Bundesliga, the DFB Pokal was Dortmund’s best shot at a title this season. Despite their glaring superiority on the pitch, it just wasn’t meant to be.
It was a lucky victory for the underdog, who are currently top of the league in the Bundesliga’s second division.
St Pauli only had two shots on target, a total dwarfed by Dortmund’s six attempts. They also gave up possession early in the game, with Dortmund nearing 70% control of the ball.
The Hamburg club got a 2-0 advantage after Axel Witsel deflected a cross into his own net just before the end of the first half.
Midway through the second half, Erling Haaland brought his side closer with a goal from the penalty spot. However, St Pauli withstood Dortmund’s final charge, leaving the away fans stunned.
Early cup exit from Borussia Dortmund marks historic occasion
Following their early exit from the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund might have already waved goodbye to big trophies this season.
Their exit leaves things extremely open in the DFB Pokal after Bayern received a 5-0 thrashing (yes, you read that correctly) against Borussia Monchengladbach in the second round.
With both giants knocked out of the competition, smaller clubs will make the most of their chance to touch silverware.
In fact, Dortmund’s and Bayern’s exit has already turned this DFB Pokal into a historic event. Besides the two giants, clubs already knocked out of the cup include Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg, Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Nurnberg, Stuttgart, and FC Kaiserslautern.
There is something in common between every club in that list: They have all won the DFB Pokal at least once since 1996.
Now, Germany’s top cup competition will have a new winner for the first time in 27 years. RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim are among the clearer favourites to take the trophy home.
A breath of fresh air for German football
German football is famous for being a one-horse race.
If Bayern Munich win the league this year, it will be their tenth consecutive Bundesliga title. They have won the past two titles with a 13-point margin in each season.
Things weren’t always this way. Borussia Dortmund had an impressive run at the beginning of the past decade, with two consecutive titles in 2011 and 2012.
From 2000 to 2010, the Bundesliga saw five different teams win the league. Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart, and VfL Wolfsburg (with the help of a young Edin Dzeko) all lifted the trophy within that time range.
But for the past ten years, the Bundesliga title fight has been as exciting as watching paint dry.
Thankfully for football fans, the DFB Pokal is there to add some much-needed spice to German football.
Featured Image Credit: Getty