After last week’s shock defeat, Dortmund basked in the limelight on Saturday as the newly crowned German champions following their 2-0 victory at home against Nuremberg.
Five-time champions Dortmund do it again
With two games to spare, Borussia Dortmund secured the Bundesliga title by beating Nuremberg 2-0, thanks to the poor showing by their closest rivals, Bayer Leverkusen, who suffered an embarrassing 2-0 loss at the hands of struggling Cologne.
The final scores of those two games left Dortmund an unassailable eight points clear of Leverkusen with two matches left in the season, handing them their seventh title and first since 2002.
First-half goals by Lucas Barrios and Robert Lewandowsky gave Borussia the win in front of more than 80,000 frenetic fans.
“I'm just happy,” said Coach Jürgen Klopp after learning that Leverkusen had dropped their match in Cologne.
A Borussian beer bath for Dortmund's coach
“What these young guys have achieved is hard to put into words,” Klopp added after toweling off from the traditional beer shower. “The way they have taken our direction and used it on the pitch has been incredible,” he said.
Dortmund won 22 of its 32 games and lost only four, despite suffering long-term injuries to key players Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa, Sebastian Kehl and defender Patrick Owomoyela.
But the team, which apart from goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller has an average age of 22, never looked back after a win of seven straight wins early in the season.
Things didn't quite look so rosy, however, last week after Klopp's team haplessly faltered against relegation-threatened Mönchengladbach. But that's all so yesterday now that Dortmund also secured its slot for next season's Champions League action.
Last Champs League spot still up for grabs
Further south on Saturday, a local derby determined the premature outcome for Dortmund, after second-placed Leverkusen lost to Cologne. Leverkusen, four-time runners-up, remain without a Bundesliga title after another near miss.
As a consolation prize, at least, they have secured a berth in the Champions League.
Not so Hanover, whose chances of finishing third and grabbing the last Champions League qualifying spot were dented after losing 1-0 at home against Mönchengladbach.
Fourth-placed Bayern Munich, playing later in the evening, made use of this golden opportunity to leapfrog Hannover for the third and final Champions League ticket by roundly beating Schalke 4-1.
In other matches played on Saturday, Mainz moved into the ranks of the Europa League by handily defeating Frankfurt 3-0.
Stuttgart squeaked past Hoffenheim 2-1 and Freiburg downed Hamburg 2-0. St. Pauli is now almost certain to be relegated after losing 2-0 to Kaiserslautern.
Author: Gregg Benzow (dpa, AFP, Reuters, sid)
Editor: Kyle James