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Jul 10, 2014

Dortmund wary of league challengers

Borussia Dortmund have set their sights on achieving automatic Champions League qualification again next season -- and fending off the Bundesliga challenge posed by the clubs close behind them.

Following two consecutive second-placed finishes and a fourth straight qualification for the Champions League, Dortmund want to challenge Bayern Munich for the title and make sure others do not get too close to them.

Jurgen Klopp's side have lost top scorer Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer to Bayern but have brought in Ciro Immobile, Adrian Ramos and Ji Dong-Won.

"Like last year, we want to secure automatic qualification for the Champions League," CEO Aki Watze told a news conference in Austria, where Dortmund are preparing for the new season.

"But in the Bundesliga, we shouldn't just look at the duel with Bayern but also at the teams behind us -- Wolfsburg and Leverkusen, as well as Schalke."

Klopp echoed Watzke's words, saying: "I always want to achieve the maximum possible, but we also need to be a bit realistic.

"Going through life dreaming doesn't really help, as you will eventually hit a wall.

"We are all fired up, but we also know our capabilities. We have lost a top player in each of the last four years, and we want to be absolutely competitive again.

"We've made some good signings, and in Neven Subotic and Jakub Blaszczykowski [who both suffered ACL tears last season] we basically have two more new players. This will give us the strength to battle off attacks from the clubs behind us."

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