Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Kagawa strike seals title for Dortmund

AFP, BERLIN

Borussia Dortmund clinched a second successive German league title on Saturday as Japanese star Shinji Kagawa’s second-half goal helped secure a 2-0 win at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Kagawa’s 59th-minute strike put the result beyond doubt after attacking midfelder Ivan Perisic’s first-half header had put the hosts ahead at their sold-out Signal Iduna Park stadium in front of 80,720 fans.

The victory leaves Dortmund eight points clear of second-placed Bayern Munich with just two games left.

Coach Jurgen Klopp sprinted down the pitch to celebrate with Kagawa after the Japan international’s goal.

This is the eighth time that Dortmund have won the German league and the fifth time they have won the Bundesliga title since it was founded in 1963.

Earlier, France star Franck Ribery hit a 90th-minute winner as Bayern poached a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen to briefly delay Dortmund’s title celebrations.

Bremen’s Brazil defender Naldo was both hero and villain as his 51st-minute strike from a Claudio Pizarro header put the hosts ahead before an own goal just 14 minutes later allowed Bayern back in the game.

Ribery came off the bench with 25 minutes left to hit the winner with time almost up.

With Bayern due to visit Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday with a 2-1 lead, coach Jupp Heynckes decided to rest a host of stars.

Striker Mario Gomez and wingers Ribery and Arjen Robben were among those who started on the bench.

Bayer Leverkusen remained on course for a Europa League place thanks to a 1-0 win over Hoffenheim, with Germany midfielder Andre Schuerrle hitting a late winner.

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack made a rare appearance from the bench.

At the other end of the table, Kaiserslautern had their relegation confirmed even though they managed a 2-1 win at Hertha Berlin.

Kaiserslautern raced into a 2-0 lead before Hertha pulled a goal back with 60 minutes gone.

Berlin look set to join Kaiserslautern in the second division next season and are locked in a battle with Cologne for 16th place in the league, which gives the chance of survival via a relegation play-off at the season’s end. The side finishing third from bottom faces the third-best team in the second division in a two-legged play-off.

Cologne were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Stuttgart, while Hamburg look to have avoided relegation after their 1-1 draw at Nuremberg.

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