Jude Bellingham: "Title win with Borussia Dortmund would mean the world"
Jude Bellingham says nothing would compare to winning this season's Bundesliga title with his beloved Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund's 1-1 draw at Bochum on Matchday 30 - combined with Bayern Munich's win over Hertha Berlin - saw the defending champions move one point ahead of BVB at the top of the standings.
Bellingham had scored his first Bundesliga goal for 15 games in the commanding 4-0 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt in Dortmund's previous top-flight outing. The 19-year-old England international could not inspire his side to another victory in Bochum - although he came close with a great shot late on - meaning Bayern are in the box seat ahead of Edin Terzic’s men with four matches to play. Not that Bellingham is overly concerned, however.
Watch: Bellingham leading Dortmund's title charge
"The way I look at it, things change quickly in this league, especially this season," Bellingham told bundesliga.com. "Last week, we were out of it, we were dead. The week before we had a chance. The week before that we were out of it and dead again. So, for me it's about staying [focused] during the positives and the negatives. There’s no point getting too high and there’s no point getting too low."
Dortmund managed to put together a masterful run of eight straight top-flight wins after the turn of the year. In fact, that sequence stretched to 10 victories on the bounce in all competitions. When a Klassiker loss against Bayern followed soon after a Revierderby draw against lowly Schalke, however, doubts began to emerge surrounding Borussia’s title credentials.
A subsequent triumph against fellow title challengers Union Berlin was even tempered by a 3-3 draw against the 10 men of Stuttgart, a game in which Die Schwarzgelben had led 2-0 and then 3-2 late on.
Watch: Bellingham is BVB's brilliant ball winner
"We were very angry, very upset and disappointed after [the] result [against Stuttgart]," coach Terzic told bundesliga.com. "Of course, we talked about it straight after the game on Sunday morning. Everybody took responsibility for what happened last week and [against Eintracht] we showed a good response."
Bellingham was chief among those who stepped up in the crucial win against Die Adler. His fifth Bundesliga goal of the season translates into his highest return in a single campaign in Germany’s top tie, in what is his third season as a Dortmund player.
He also put in one more shift on the duel-winning front, helping to bring his overall tally to a league-high 455 challenges won so far this term.
"I think we needed a game like that [the Stuttgart draw],” the ex-Birmingham City favourite said. "I think we were getting a little bit arrogant and ahead of ourselves. I think we showed [against Eintracht] that we can be decisive and that we can put games to bed.
"It was 4-0 and to be honest it could have been more; we made a hard game look quite straightforward. They’re a brilliant team. But when we play at our best at home - and the stadium was the loudest I’ve heard it since I’ve been a Dortmund player – the fans are unbelievable. When we have all those factors come into play, I think we’re a really hard team to play against."
Donyell Malen and Karim Adeyemi also raised their levels once more for the visit of Eintracht. The former netted a double at Signal Iduna Park – both assisted by Adeyemi – to bring his Bundesliga total to seven for the season and extend his scoring streak to five consecutive top-flight games. Adeyemi then got the team's strike at Bochum.
"I think if you ask those boys, they’ll be disappointed about the first half of the season," Bellingham said of his BVB teammates. "I’m talking about Donyell [Malen] and Karim [Adeyemi] in particular. They’re top players.
"As a team we’ve tried to protect them, tried to give them more chances to just express themselves and you saw that [against Frankfurt]. When they both have the ball at their feet, with their pace and dynamism they can destroy any team. They showed that. We just want to give them the confidence to keep doing it because they’re going to win us games."
Dortmund now have four games remaining to achieve something they haven’t managed since 2012: win the Bundesliga. "No one in [our dressing-room] was dreaming of being first after 29 games," Bellingham insisted after the win over Frankfurt took BVB to the top of the table. "The dream is to be first after 34."
Watch: Dortmund's young cubs hungry for glory
"We have to win every game now until the end of the season. Whether Bayern had [beaten Mainz] or lost, that was still the task for us. We do want to dream, but we need to make sure we do the job first."
Having just made his 90th appearance in Germany’s top division, helping to bring the club its sixth Bundesliga title would clearly represent a truly unique achievement for Bellingham - not that he’s counting his chickens. "To be honest it would mean everything, it would mean the world to me," Dortmund’s No. 22 said.
"I don't want to get ahead of myself, speak about it too much and put myself in a place where I feel like I've already won it because there's five really tough games to come, whichever way you look at it. But it would be massive."
Watch: Jude Bellingham on Dortmund's title hopes
"I'd love more than anything at the moment to win the league for this club, after everything it's given me. I'm giving absolutely everything. All the boys are giving absolutely everything to try and make it happen.
"It may not look like that sometimes because a result [here and there] might not the best. But we want this more than anything and we’re going to do whatever it takes to try and make it happen."
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