Thousands of the T-shirts commemorating Borussia Dortmund's 2022–23 Bundesliga victory had already been printed,
and some were being worn by supporters even before Saturday's match against Mainz got underway.
The city had meticulously planned the title celebrations for Sunday as it anticipated 500,000 visitors.
The Westfalenstadion could have been filled five times over by Dortmund. It wouldn't matter what Bayern did as long as they defeated Mainz. The fairy tale was nearly complete.
But instead of closing the book with a black-and-yellow flourish, they were down 2-0 after only 24 minutes.
In Cologne, hope was restored with an equalizer, but it was dashed by Bayern's Jamal Musiala's 89th-minute winner.