Jude Bellingham has the chance to leave Jurgen Klopp elated despite the fact he won't be joining the German boss at Anfield this summer.
With his future still unknown amid strong links to Real Madrid, the highly rated 19-year-old has the chance to land a first Bundesliga title this Saturday, and it's one that change the landscape of football in the country. After Bayern Munich were beaten at home by Red Bull Leipzig last Saturday, Borussia Dortmund responded by beating Augsburg to leave their destiny in their own hands.
They will kick off at home to Mainz on Saturday two points clear of Bayern, meaning a win at home to Mainz will secure a first league crown since Klopp famously led The Black and Yellows to glory in 2011/12. Anything less, and a win for their rivals at Koln will mean an 11th consecutive title.
Victory for Edin Terzic's side would arguably be welcomed everywhere outside of Munich, amid accusations that the division has become uncompetitive and predictable. And despite leaving the club eight years ago, Klopp clearly still feels an affiliation at the club where he made his name in management.
"I'm a little nervous but I hope Dortmund will win it," he said, in his press conference on Friday. "I know what it would mean to the city and in general. It's not fun if the same team always wins."
Klopp's comments may also be perceived at a dig at Liverpool's rivals Manchester City, who have just sealed a third straight Premier League title and undoubtedly, will start the 2023/24 season as favourites to make it four in a row. And there's also irony for him around Dortmund's defining fixture on Saturday, with Klopp leading Mainz for seven seasons before leaving for the Signal Iduna Park in 2008.
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For Bellingham, a Bundesliga title is likely to further elevate his status - not to mention transfer fee - as one of the world's best young players. But with no deal yet agreed with Real or any other of the chasing clubs, Dortmund fans are also hopeful that sealing the silverware will persuade him to continue his development there for another year, especially with Champions League football again guaranteed.
For Bayern though, the prospect of ending the season with just a pre-season DFL-Supercup win to their name is likely to prompt an inquest. The club were top of the table and still in the Champions League when Julian Nagelsmann was sacked in March, with Thomas Tuchel brought in as his replacement.
But they were duly hammered 4-1 on aggregate by Man City in the quarter finals, and the second leg was followed by a 3-1 loss at Mainz. Nine points from the three fixtures that followed seemingly steadied the ship, before the 3-1 loss to Leipzig handed Dortmund the initiative.2023-05-26T13:22:39Z dg43tfdfdgfd