Klopp: Kehl deserves win in 300th league match
Dortmund host Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday aiming to improve their dismal domestic form that sees them sit second bottom of the Bundesliga.
They have lost their last five league games and taken just one point from their past seven - a far cry from their perfect start in the UEFA Champions League which sees them already into the competition's last 16 with two group matches still to play.
Kehl has been central to Dortmund's success under Klopp since 2008, which has included two league titles, a DFB-Pokal Cup and a trip to the Champions League final.
The manager paid tribute to his ex-captain ahead of Sunday's clash against third-placed Monchengladbach, and hopes his team can produce a performance befitting the occasion.
"Statistics are not important to him," said Klopp.
"It's only a number, a great number. But I think one that's too small for this player because he unfortunately had a few injuries, but still this is a very impressive number.
"We have now been working together for six-and-a-half years. In the first two years he had problems with injuries and then I think in 2011 again. Luckily we have now significantly better control, because he's a great player and a great person.
"He's not only six-and-a-half years my player but six years my captain. We had good conversations and he has a large share of all that has happened here in the last few years. Especially on the positive things. I hope for the 300th game we can make a little gift."
However, Monchengladbach have won the previous two meetings between the teams.
The ever-improving side are yet to taste defeat this season and, as a result are third in the table, just four points behind leaders Bayern.
"They have a wise and great transfer policy and have the luck that just [a] few players are injured," Klopp added.
"Accordingly, I find that they haven't received too much praise in recent weeks.
"[Sporting director] Max Eberl and [coach] Lucien Favre have done a great job. Because of this, their game has also evolved.
"They have a certain way of playing. They are simply a good team and have a good tactical plan. You have to admit this."