Dortmund prepare biggest party with league title in sight

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As preparations for the biggest party in Dortmund in decades continue, the news of Mats Hummels' contract extension came as a pleasant surprise.

The 2014 World Cup winner had become a symbol of the Borussia Dortmund's upswing despite his 34 years. The defender admitted to having considered a career end following a likely Bundesliga title that can be achieved this weekend.

The former German international said the enthusiastic atmosphere around the club made him think things over. "I am full of joyful anticipation about another season with the team. It's a very special feeling to be able to finish the current season with great success," he added.

Media reports speak of plans to keep Hummels at the club and reward him with a coaching or management job.

"The connection of Mats and the BVB is something that must continue as he is one of the club's figureheads," Watzke said.

While Hummels' contract extension was met with widespread approval among fans, preparations for a title party proceed, as the club, pubs, and the city council prepare for over 400,000 fans to gather for celebrations this Sunday, with the team planning a bus ride through the city's streets before ending up at the Borsigplatz, where the club was found in 1909.

Dortmund enjoys a two-point lead over Bayern Munich ahead of the last match of the season against Mainz.

In order to ensure themselves of the title, Dortmund needs to win, as a draw will not be enough to overhaul Bayern if the Bavarians beat Cologne, thanks to their superior goal difference.

Not only do most German fans expect Dortmund to cross the line, but the German football federation has decided to send the original trophy to the city of Dortmund, while in Cologne a replica is being used in case of an upset.

On Monday, Dortmund's sporting director Sebastian Kehl addressed the team, discussing the procedures this week, while coach Edin Terzic skipped an annual free day to keep his side focused.

"We knew we are facing a curious week and we talked about the increasing attention we receive in order to have a clear head for a good performance this Saturday," the former midfielder said.

Kehl said the club expects a huge crowd and tens of thousands of cheering fans to take the team to the title. "It's important that we feel the support after the team achieved a situation like that, but we mustn't forget, it takes one more win."

Media reports speak of bonus payments of up to eight million euros for the players if they grab the title. The payments are said to be twice as high as in 2012, when Dortmund last won the league with Jurgen Klopp in charge.

Following Saturday's encounter is one of the city's biggest parties, as the 2023 title is seen as "something unique after a challenging season with all sorts of ups and downs" as Kehl puts it.

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