Borussia Dortmund have captured their eighth Bundesliga title with two games to spare after completing a 2-0 victory against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Croatian international Ivan Perišić struck midway through the first half, powerfully heading Marcel Schmelzer's free-kick past Marc-André ter Stegen and Shinji Kagawa (59) guaranteed Dortmund an unassailable eight-point lead, when latching on to Robert Lewandowski's pass and rounding the goalkeeper.
After losing three of their opening six league fixtures, Jürgen Klopp's side strung together a 25-match unbeaten sequence to reel in early season pacesetters FC Bayern München and successfully defend their crown. "That was the biggest challenge I've ever had," said Klopp. "I'm speechless after what the boys did today against a team as good as Mönchengladbach. To play so well was madness. It's just amazing. If ever there's a team that deserves to be champions, then it's us."
"We played a terrific season, it was unique," added goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. "We are delighted. To defend the title was much harder because nobody underestimated us this time, but we fully deserved it."
Dortmund would have been celebrating without kicking a ball had Bayern not mustered a dramatic win at SV Werder Bremen earlier in the day. Jupp Heynckes's charges looked bound for defeat when trailing to Naldo's opener (51) but the visitors, who rested a raft of players with Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid CF in mind, staged a fightback. Naldo produced an own goal (75) before substitute Franck Ribéry – who scored against Madrid in midweek – struck with seconds left.
Elsewhere, André Schürrle's winner (79) earned Bayer 04 Leverkusen a 1-0 success at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart and Hamburger SV were held to 1-1 draws at 1. FC Köln and 1. FC Nürnberg respectively and bottom club 1. FC Kaiserslautern prevailed 2-1 at Hertha BSC Berlin.
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|Last updated: 02/05/2012 13:09 CET|
Kirch 27, Wooten 38
Naldo 51, 75 (o.g.)
|2||FC Bayern München||32||67|
|3||FC Schalke 04||31||57|
|4||VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach||32||56|
|6||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||32||48|
|8||SV Werder Bremen||32||42|
|9||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim||32||41|
|11||1. FC Nürnberg||32||39|
|12||1. FSV Mainz 05||32||38|
|16||1. FC Köln||32||30|
|17||Hertha BSC Berlin||32||28|
|18||1. FC Kaiserslautern||32||23|