Dortmund beats 'Gladbach to clinch Bundesliga
BERLIN (AP) -- From a stuttering start to the season, Borussia Dortmund retained the Bundesliga title with two rounds to go by beating Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0 on Saturday.
Ivan Perisic scored in the 23rd minute and Shinji Kagawa in the 59th to launch the celebrations for Dortmund's eighth German league championship.
"There are no words to describe what the lads have done,'' Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said as his side sealed the title on the 32nd matchday for the second year in a row.
"It was the biggest challenge - to win the game. (Dortmund captain) Sebastian Kehl got the lads going before the game. That was cooool.''
Dortmund has an unassailable eight-point lead over Bayern Munich. Six games into the season, Dortmund was eight points behind Bayern. It would set a Bundesliga record of 81 points if it wins its remaining games.
"It's crazy what we're doing,'' Klopp said.
The new German champion stretched its record unbeaten run in a season to 26 games as it became the first team -- other than Bayern -- to win successive titles since it last did so 16 years ago.
"Impressive,'' Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
Franck Ribery kept Bayern's slim hopes alive hours earlier when he scored in the 90th minute to earn his side a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen.
"I'm happy Bayern won in Bremen,'' said Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke. "Otherwise we wouldn't have experienced it like we did. It was a perfect Saturday.''
Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen got a hand to Perisic's header from Marcel Schmelzer's free kick but was unable to prevent the Croat's sixth goal of the season.
Schmelzer's goalline block denied Marco Reus, who will join Dortmund next season, 10 minutes after the interval, before Roel Brouwers needed a crucial tackle to stop Kagawa at the other end.
There was nothing Moenchengladbach could do to deny the Japan star in the 59th, when he flicked the ball beyond ter Stegen with his first touch and into the net from a narrow angle with his next after great play from Schmelzer and Robert Lewandowski.
"It's the happiest I've ever felt,'' Kagawa said. "Nothing beats this.''
Dortmund fans had further reason to cheer in the 73rd, when Mario Goetze went on for the first time since December after injury.
"I want to get to 100 percent, because there's still the German Cup (final),'' said Goetze, referring to Dortmund's date with Bayern on May 12.
"Again we played a grandiose season,'' said Dortmund 'keeper Roman Weidenfeller as the players engaged in the traditional beer showers.
Ribery had delayed the celebrations with his late winner in Bremen, which came 15 minutes after the Frenchman forced Naldo into scoring an own goal. The Bremen defender gave the home side the lead in the 51st.
Kaiserslautern was relegated despite a 2-1 win at Hertha Berlin, which is almost certain to be demoted too, while Bayer Leverkusen won 1-0 at Hoffenheim, and there were 1-1 draws between Nuremberg and Hamburger SV, and between Cologne and Stuttgart.
Bayern's focus was clearly on next Wednesday's Champions League semifinal second leg at Real Madrid, with Jupp Heynckes making eight changes to the side which beat the Spanish league leader 2-1 in Tuesday's first leg.
"It was an important win for the morale,'' Heynckes said. "We're very confident and optimistic going to Madrid because we're always in a position to score a goal.''
Kaiserslautern ended its club record run of 21 games without a win on the day it was relegated for the third time.
"I'm happy on one hand but naturally very sad on the other,'' said Kaiserslautern coach Krasimir Balakov, whose previous five games after taking over ended in defeat.
Oliver Kirch put the visitors ahead in the 27th, and American striker Andrew Wooten marked his first start by making it 2-0 in the 38th - the first time this season that Kaiserslautern had scored more than one goal in the first half.
Peter Niemeyer pulled one back on the hour with a header from a corner, and Thomas Kraft kept the home side in it with a fine save from Olcay Sahan in the 76th, but Niemeyer was sent off after his second yellow card a minute later.
Hertha slipped two points behind Cologne in the relegation playoff place.
"I've never experienced anything as dramatic as with Hertha,'' Berlin coach Otto Rehhagel said.
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