Wolfsburg - As Borussia Dortmund's players mingled with the press in the mixed zone of the Volkswagen Arena after Saturday's 3-3 draw with VfL Wolfsburg, it was to the televised backdrop of their own club president, Dr. Reinhard Rauball, handing over the Bundesliga championship shield in his capacity as head of the League Association to their successors in Munich's Allianz Arena.
"Too passive throughout"
The festivities down south were, however, given the same short shrift by the interviewees as the bulk of queries pertaining to their upcoming Champions League appointment with FC Bayern at Wembley Stadium on 25 May. As far as the latter goes, Nuri Sahin, Marcel Schmelzer and Sven Bender were unanimous in their judgement - "That will be another game altogether."
Head coach Jürgen Klopp, having already announced before the encounter at Wolfsburg that there would be no more large-scale rotation in the run-up to the showpiece event in London, stressed that the decision on his final team selection for that one "will be made in the week after the Hoffenheim game...before that, we're not thinking about the final."
With regard to the events at the VW-Arena, where Dortmund eventually scrambled a point courtesy of a late brace from Marco Reus, Klopp succinctly summarised, "Our problem was that we were too passive throughout. And that's something you're punished for."
"99 percent isn't enough"
Compounding the coach's annoyance was the fact that his charges had got off to the perfect start, Sven Bender getting a touch on Sahin's free kick to put them in front inside the opening five minutes. But a brace from Ivan Perisic, himself of course in the employ of Dortmund before switching during the winter break, and another goal from Naldo put the Wolves firmly in the driving seat before half time.
Borussia upped the tempo sufficiently after the restart to eventually eke out a share of the spoils, but two-goal hero Reus was not mollified, noting, "That just showed that giving 99 percent isn't enough. I'm sure we're going to put in a quite different kind of performance against Bayern." Midfielder Bender was singing from the same songsheet, pointing out that, "If we perform at five percent below capacity, there are quite a few teams we're not going to be able to beat."
Hoffenheim first, then London
The last domestic assignment of the season comes at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, against an 1899 Hoffenheim side who need all three points to stand any chance of avoiding relegation. Their opponents' possible fate can be of little concern to Dortmund on the day, however. "We want to bow out on a decent note. Our fans deserve that much," said Roman Weidenfeller. Not least, the keeper added, "because we want Robert (Lewandowski, ed.) to travel to London as Bundesliga top scorer."
There, at Wembley, a global audience will tune in to "a quite different kind of game" - and one where the losing side will not be glancing at a TV screen in passing, but experiencing it close-up and personal as the victors get their hands on the Champions League trophy.
Jürgen Blöhs in Wolfsburg / adaptation Angus Davison