Dortmund on brink of Bundesliga glory
FRANKFURT - The Associated Press
Dortmund might win its second Bundesliga title in a row before playing its game. AFP photoBorussia Dortmund could already be Bundesliga champion by the time it hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach on April 20.
Dortmund plays the late match and if Bayern Munich fails to win earlier at Werder Bremen, Dortmund will be assured of its second consecutive championship before it kicks off at home. Juergen Klopp’s team is eight points ahead of Bayern with three matches to play.
Bayern is likely to be looking more to next week’s return leg of the Champions League semifinals against Real Madrid than worry about a match in the Bundesliga, where its title hopes are theoretical.
Dortmund defender Neven Subotic says his teammates are not doing the mathematics.
“We are only concentrating on winning. We want to grab the title on our own power. We want to offer the fans a spectacle. Our hunger for success hasn’t gone away suddenly,” Subotic said.
Dortmund is riding a record 25-match unbeaten run as it closes in on the title. Last season, it also sealed the title on the 32nd matchday, then as the youngest side in the Bundesliga.
“We’ve gotten stronger. Each one of has become better player. We run more, we are cleverer, we know how to save energy.
“And I can promise you, we have not reached our limit. We still have a young team,” Subotic said.
One person who could delay title celebrations is Moenchengladbach’s star forward Marco Reus, who will be playing in Dortmund as of next season.
“I don’t feel any pressure, I am looking forward to the match because there much at stake for us,” Reus said. “Dortmund is for me already champion, but we want the points because we can still reach third place.” Moenchengladbach is one point behind Schalke and is still hoping to clinch a direct spot in next season’s Champions League, a remarkable feat for a team that barely escaped relegation last season.
Reus is one of the main reasons Moenchengladbach is that high in the standings and Subotic knows what kind of qualities his future teammate brings.
“It’s a big challenge to play against him for every defender. He is like a rocket and I am very pleased that he is joining us. He’s got great skills, he’s incredibly fast,” Subotic said.
Bayern travels to Bremen bolstered by its 2-1 win over Real in the home leg of the Champions League semifinal.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes could decide to rest his top stars as the team prepares for next Wednesday’s return leg.
“Obviously Madrid is in the focus,” Bayern’s defender Holler Badstuber said. “But we can’t allow ourselves a bad performance in Bremen because we need a good dress rehearsal for Wednesday.” Bremen sits eighth and could still earn a place in the Europa League.
At the bottom of the standings, last-place Kaiserslautern visits Hertha Berlin, which next to last and has eight points more. A victory for Hertha sends Kaiserslautern down and improves its hopes of moving past Cologne, which has one point more but hosts surging Stuttgart.
Augsburg, four points ahead of Cologne, hosts Schalke on Sunday.
Mainz kicks off the action Friday against Wolfsburg.
Also Saturday, Hoffenheim hosts Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburger SV visits Nuremberg.
Hannover plays Freiburg on Sunday.