Borussia Dortmund manager Juergen Klopp has apologised for the club’s inability to keep pace with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.
Dortmund have dominated the Bundesliga for two successive seasons, winning back-to-back titles but it has been a disappointing campaign thus far for the defending champions.
Rivals Munich sit a mammoth 20 points clear atop the table with nine games remaining and are poised to claim their first Bundesliga crown since 2010.
“Maybe I should take the opportunity to apologise for the missing tension in the championship,” Klopp said.
“However, we’d given our best, to keep the tension. Everybody has tried to keep the distance to Bayern within reach. This extends to almost every competition.
“There is also a thrilling battle for relegation. It isn’t decided yet. Except the fight for the championship, there is tension everywhere.”
With 27 points still up for grabs, anything is possible but to have any chance of retaining their crown, victory over Freiburg on Saturday is a necessity.
In an impressive season to date, Freiburg sit eighth on the table and Klopp is aware of the threat the visitors pose.
“The team (Freiburg) is playing very well,” he said. “That’s the decisive factor.
“Freiburg present a very nice picture. They are a team, which is very good with and without the ball.
“It’s tough to defend against, because there’s no clear offensive structure. You can’t say, this guy is a striker or this player has this task and so on.
“Maybe they’ve done the best trade of the year with (Max) Kruse from St Pauli. He fits very well at Freiburg. He’s a very offensive midfielder and a great player. He understands his role very well and fits into the style of Freiburg. Everyone is involved in their game.”