Klopp hails five-star Dortmund's 'crazy' season

AFP, Sunday 22 Apr 2012

Dortmund crowned German champions for the eighth time to claim their fifth Bundesliga title since it began in 1963

Jurgen Klopp
Coach Juergen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after their German first division Bundesliga soccer match against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Dortmund, April 21, 2012. Dortmund won the match 2-0 and is this year's German soccer champion. (Photo: REUTERS)

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has hailed the German league champions' 'best-ever season' in the wake of their record-breaking unbeaten run to the defence of their title as they eye more records.

Dortmund's 2-0 home victory over Moenchengladbach on Saturday left them eight points clear of second-placed Bayern and crowned German champions for the eighth time to claim their fifth Bundesliga title since it began in 1963.

Klopp's team will be awarded the Bundesliga shield in their final match at home to Freiburg on May 5.

Dortmund have gone 26 games without defeat, extending the record for the longest unbeaten run in a single German league season, and their last league defeat was back on September 18 at Hanover.

"We could have played our best season," admitted Klopp.

"We haven't lost in 26 league games, that's just crazy.

"And we have never had the feeling that we'd lose. It just went on and on."

With two games left and 75 points to their credit, Dortmund can still break the record of 79 collected in a single German league season by Bayern in both the 1971/72 and 1972/73 seasons.

"We were in an unusual situation of having to defend the title," said Dortmund manager Hans-Joachim Watzke.

"You can only imagine how well this this team has done.

"To be able to hold off such a strong Bayern team shows that we deserve an extra star."

Dortmund have earned the title with home and away league wins over their main rivals Bayern and Schalke already this season.

"We have beaten the runners-up, we beat the third-best team (Schalke 04) and now we have beaten the team in fourth (Gladach)," said Dortmund president Dr. Reinhard Rauball.

"I don't think anyone believes we don't deserve to be German champions."

For all their domestic success, Klopp's side showed their inexperience on the European stage and finished last in their Champions League group with Arsenal and Olympique Marseille reaching the knock-out stages.

The most glaring example came as they threw away a 2-0 lead after half an hour at home to Marseille in their final group match and conceded an 87th-minute goal as the French poached a 3-2 victory in Dortmund.

But although their European campaign foundered early it allowed Dortmund to concentrate on the domestic league.

They embarked on their unbeaten run despite losing teenage play-maker Mario Goetze in January with a groin injury and the 19-year-old came off the bench against Gladbach for his first appearance of 2012.

In his absence, Japan's Shinji Kagawa has been a revelation using his pace to leave defenders in his wake and high quality passes have unpicked many a defence.

Kagawa's creativity is part of the reason Poland striker Robert Lewandowski to score 20 goals in 31 league games this season.

Dortmund face a fight to keep the 23-year-old Kagawa who has still a year left on his contract.

Reports in the German media suggest he is tempted by a switch to the Premier League with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all reported to be interested.

Even if Kagawa quits, Dortmund will be boosted by the arrival of Germany's rising star Marco Reus from Gladbach next season and the 22-year-old has signed a deal worth 17 million euros.

Their remaining games against bottom side Kaiserslautern and Freiburg promise to be a party for their army of fans.

The German Cup final against Bayern Munich on May 12 at Berlin's Olympic Stadium gives Klopp's team the chance to claim a third win over the Bavarians this season.

 (For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter: @AO Sports.

Short link: