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Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen: Klopp looks to sign off with European qualification

Jurgen Klopp will be looking to mark his final Bundesliga game in charge of Borussia Dortmund in style by securing UEFA Europa League qualification against fellow hopefuls Werder Bremen.

The much-loved head coach, who is leaving at the end of the season, will take charge at Signal Iduna Park for the 238th time as he nears the curtain call on his seven-year stay at the club. 

Having struggled in the first half of the season, Dortmund have enjoyed a revival in 2015 and a draw on Saturday – when long-serving midfielder Sebastian Kehl will also bid farewell to Signal Iduna Park – would almost certainly be enough to claim seventh. 
If Augsburg are beaten at high-flying Borussia Monchengladbach, a Dortmund win would move them into sixth – the lowest they have previously finished under Klopp.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference, Klopp said: “The world won’t end if we don’t qualify for the Europa League, but it would be much nicer if we do.”

Not only would it provide a high note for Klopp and Kehl – who is taking a six-month break from the game after this season, having been with Dortmund since 2002 – to end with on home soil, but it would set them up nicely for the DFB-Pokal final.

Dortmund face Wolfsburg – who beat them 2-1 last weekend – in the Berlin showdown, where Klopp will go in search of his second Pokal success to go alongside his two Bundesliga titles.

The tributes have poured in for Klopp ever since he announced his decision to step down in April, with the 47-year-old proving practically universally popular among his players and contemporaries.

Thomas Tuchel will be in charge when Dortmund return for a new campaign, following Klopp’s footsteps from Mainz to the Westphalia.

Werder won the reverse fixture 2-1 in December as goals from Davie Selke and Fin Bartels rendered Mats Hummels’ effort a mere consolation. 

While the spotlight will fall on Klopp, opposite number Viktor Skrypnyk will be looking to engineer a route into Europe for his own side.

Only one part of the equation rests in Werder’s hands, though.

They must beat Dortmund and then hope for a Wolfsburg victory in the Pokal final – or, in the most far-fetched of possible scenarios, triumph on Saturday and make up 13 goals on Augsburg in order to take sixth.

Skrypnyk’s men will need to lick their wounds from the 2-0 home loss to Gladbach last time out, which cost them a far more realistic shot at climbing into the automatic Europa League places.

Still it has been a season of improvement for Werder, who finished 12th last season and were beaten twice by Dortmund, including a 5-1 hammering on home soil.

Thu 21 May, 2015
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