Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa argued his team owe outgoing coach Jurgen Klopp a trophy as they prepare for their DFB Pokal semi-final.
Dortmund will travel to Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on Tuesday with a spot in the DFB Pokal decider on the line, and after a tough season that saw Klopp’s men spend a long stint in and around the relegation zone, Kagawa wants to send the 47-year-old coach out on a high.
Klopp announced earlier this month that he will leave the Westfalenstadion at the end of the campaign.
In his seven seasons in charge of Dortmund, Klopp won two Bundesliga championships, one DFB Pokal title and led the club to the final of the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League, which they lost to Bayern.
“We feel a great sense of gratitude and we owe him,” Kagawa told the Bundesliga’s website.
“Soon it’ll be time for him to go and that won’t be easy, which is all the more reason why it’s now about us giving even more for the coach in the last few games.”
Dortmund will arrive in Munich with four wins in their past six matches in all competitions, plus a 1-0 loss to Bayern at home at the start of April.
In their past two games, Kagawa and Co. have not conceded a goal as they have accounted for Paderborn 3-0 and Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0.
The Japan international has scored in both Bundesliga fixtures.
“The Bayern game’s coming at a good time for us. We’ll be able to take our momentum from the league into the semi-finals of the cup,” Kagawa said.
“The last few games have given us a lot of belief. That’s what we want to draw on in the cup and show in Munich on Tuesday.”