Dortmund's Klopp vows to fix dire league form

AFP, Sunday 26 Oct 2014

Coach Jurgen Klopp
Coach Jurgen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund reacts before their Champions League Group D soccer match against Galatasaray in Istanbul October 22, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Jurgen Klopp has vowed to fix Borussia Dortmund's dire Bundesliga form following their fourth straight league defeat with leaders Bayern Munich lying in wait.

Dortmund have yet to concede a goal in the Champions League with three straight wins after Wednesday's impressive 4-0 victory at Galatasaray and are top of Group D ahead of Arsenal, but are in free-fall in the Bundesliga.

Borussia can book their place in the knock-out phase of Europe when they host Galatasaray in the return leg, but they are winless in their last six German league games.

Hanover's 1-0 win at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion on Saturday saw Dortmund drop to 15th in the table, just a point above the relegation zone, in their worst start to the season in nearly three decades.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern host Dortmund in Munich next Saturday in Germany's "Der Klassiker" and Borussia have a potential banana skin at second division St Pauli on Tuesday in the second round of the German Cup.

"We have to keep going, keep fighting – and ensure that we no longer feel like this after games," fumed Dortmund coach Klopp after the Hanover defeat.

"We turned all the screws and still we're left empty-handed. That's tough.

"All of us have a huge responsibility, which we have to meet.

"We can't do more, but we can do things better.

"We aren't in a good situation in the Bundesliga and that's something we haven't come to terms with until now.

"We'll continue to fight. The opponent made a lot out of little, we made nothing out of a lot."

Dortmund failed to beat 10 men as Hanover had Turkey midfielder Ceyhun Guelselam sent off for fouling Germany winger Marco Reus on 89 minutes.

Klopp is under contract until 2017 and Dortmund CEO Hans-Watzke has said the 47-year-old has a job guarantee until then.

But current results, losing to the likes of Schalke, Hamburg, Cologne and now Hanover, will do little to help renegotiate the expiring contracts of Germany stars Reus and Ilkay Gundogan, obvious targets for Europe's top clubs.

Next season's Champions League place is under serious threat unless league results dramatically improve.

Watzke has said financially they can cope without a season in Europe's most lucrative competition, but their top players will be vulnerable to better offers.

Dortmund have a history of losing their best player at the end of each recent season.

In 2011, defensive midfielder Nuri Sahin left for Real Madrid, only to return after an unhappy stint in Spain, then Liverpool, while a year later playmaker Shinji Kagawa departed for Manchester United.

Both eventually returned, but neither has recaptured the previous form they showed in Dortmund while Sahin is currently injured.

In 2013, World Cup winner Mario Goetze actioned a release clause in his contract to join Bayern for €37 million, soon to be followed in Bavaria by striker Robert Lewandowski who refused to renew his Dortmund deal.

Klopp has struggled to integrate recent signings Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Adrian Ramos and Ciro Immobile into his 4-2-3-1 system.

But there seems to be deeper lying psychological problems as Dortmund repeatedly fail to recapture their stunning European form on their return to the Bundesliga.

"There is a mental blockage in their heads. The Bundesliga defeats don't show the quality of the team," ex-Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus told Sky Sports.

"They have to throw the switch and focus again on doing their homework in the Bundesliga."

But that is easier said than done and Dortmund have yet to meet four of the top six Bundesliga teams with Klopp all too aware that help is not at hand.

"No one is going to help us in the coming weeks, we have to sort this out alone," he said.

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