Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that veteran midfielder and club captain Sebastian Kehl has agreed a one-year extension to his current contract.
Kehl has confirmed that he will retire once this deal expires, meaning he will finish his career at Dortmund after a remarkable 14 years with the club:
It’s clear that the midfielder has a special affinity with Dortmund, and after the news of the new deal was confirmed he spoke of his delight at signing on for another year, courtesy of Sandra Goldschmidt:
Kehl: Borussia Dortmund, our wonderful team, the fans & the city Dortmund are my home for several years now. That’s why I decided to extend.— Sandra Goldschmidt (@SanBorussia) March 23, 2014
Kehl: I am looking forward to my last year in the Bundesliga. After that it will be the right time for a new phase in my life. #BVB— Sandra Goldschmidt (@SanBorussia) March 23, 2014
Kehl has seen plenty of highs and lows in his time at the club. He won the league title in 2002 and remains one of the only players still at the club from when they nearly went bankrupt back in 2005, per BBC News.
He stayed loyal whilst many players moved on. When Jurgen Klopp arrived in 2008, he named Kehl club captain. The midfielder played a key role in Dortmund’s triumph in the 2010-11 Bundesliga season, and whilst Dortmund also won the league the season after, Kehl only featured on three occasions due to injury.
In truth, he’s been on the fringes of the first XI since, but Kehl has been a much more prominent figure in the Die Borussen’s team this season. Klopp’s side have had their season punctured by a host of injuries, and 34-year-old Kehl has filled in with distinction since the turn of the year despite his advancing age. He has made 12 starts in all competitions per WhoScored.com.
His performances this year have surely had an impact on the club’s decision to offer the him a new deal and he looks set for an emotional send-off at the end of the 2015 campaign.
Whilst this deal will have football romanticists purring, it will also give the club a lift as they fight for silverware this season. Dortmund have a crucial Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid approaching, and Kehl looks set to be part of the team that tries to halt the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Kehl will be certainly be hoping to get his hands on that trophy before he brings the curtain down on a marvellous career in 2015.