Thrilling final day drama in Bundesliga history looms as Dortmund close in on title

A draw or even defeat to Mainz 05 on Saturday could still suffice to help the club secure their first league trophy in 11 years

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Dortmund's sporting director Sebastian Kehl (right)  is calling on his team to perform well one more time.  AP
Dortmund's sporting director Sebastian Kehl (right) is calling on his team to perform well one more time. AP

By Reuters

Published: Thu 25 May 2023, 4:31 PM

The stage is set in Dortmund for the most dramatic Bundesliga finale in more than a decade with Borussia fans desperate to see the team win their first league title in 11 years on Saturday against visitors Mainz 05.

The Ruhr valley club, who last won the Bundesliga under then coach Juergen Klopp in 2012, are one win away from making sure they lift the Meisterschale in front of a sold-out 81,000 home crowd on the last matchday of the season.

Dortmund are two points clear of Bayern Munich going into the last game and know that a draw or even defeat might still be enough to secure the title depending on Bayern's result in Cologne.

But in Dortmund there is no goal other than to win.

"We just have to win one more time," said Dortmund sports director Sebastian Kehl, captain of the 2012-title winning team.

"Basically I have a good feeling but I know that we have to perform really well one more time and then we will deserve it.

"When the players ride the bus to the stadium they will be cheered on by the crowds. That will push them."

Victory against Mainz to secure the title would be a major achievement for Dortmund coach Edin Terzic, who had to endure a rollercoaster season with the team almost out of the race by the halfway mark.

It could also mark the biggest success of captain Marco Reus' long and injury-plagued career, with the 33-year-old being one of the most gifted players of his generation but having so far failed to win a league title.

"What he has always been accused of is that he has never won the championship," Kehl said. "He feels sorry for that and he will do everything that we are champions on Saturday, but also for him."

The atmosphere could not be more different in Munich, where coach Thomas Tuchel, whose team suffered a shock 3-1 home loss to RB Leipzig last week to surrender the lead in the title race, is trying to convince his players that all is not lost.

And Bayern are no strangers to dramatic title wins - in 2001 they bagged a stoppage time goal on the final day of the season to snatch the title from Schalke 04.

Ruling the Bavarians out, even on the last matchday, is a risky business.

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