GERMANY: Klopp the man to watch

Germany

Ahead of the crunch all-German Champions League final, we take a look at how Borussia Dortmund have dramatically improved under Klopp.

While one of the most decorated manager’s of all-time, Sir Alex Ferguson exits, another has been shot into the spotlight. Jurgen Norbert Klopp, 45, may be the manager behind the success of Borussia Dortmund, but he, like most, had humble beginnings.

Jurgen Klopp was born in Stuttgart, Germany. Just six years older than Ryan Giggs, Klopp called time on his career due to niggling injuries. He eventually took over at Mainz 05, the club that he played for all his life before choosing to resign after failing to gain promotion. In 2008, Jurgen Klopp took over Borussia Dortmund in his first season in-charge and won the DFB-Supercup by beating Bayern Munich. But the real unprecedented triumph was yet to come for the young coach.

If the pre-Klopp era was a tough pill to swallow, winning two seasons in a row or the German league and cup was beyond their wildest dreams. Yet, this became a reality when Dortmund won two consecutive league titles in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, they also went one further by winning the domestic double in that latter season by amassing the highest-points tally of 81 for the league. Jurgen Klopp rounded up those incredible two seasons by winning the German Manager of the Year awards twice.

Although it might be a little unfair to give all the credit for Borussia Dortmund’s recent success to Jurgen Klopp instead of the team that consists German players such as Matt Hummels, Marco Reus, Ilkay Gundogan, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze (who recently signed a contract with rivals Bayern Munich for next season); its hard to reserve any praises for the man who so skillfully put together the blossoming team in the first place. Even the man who drafted Klopp in Borrusia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, found his impact rather surprising, “It was clear to us pretty quickly that Klopp and BVB just fit together. But it was not to be expected that the coach would get a hold of the team so quickly and fundamentally change the game style of Borussia within one year”.

Many wonder in vain why Jurgen Klopp is at the top of his managerial game, as he seems to have taken the Dortmund team and given such a flair that makes the team so entertaining and effective at the same time. Klopp was even a candidate for the once void Manchester United job, vacated by Sir Alex Ferguson. There has even been speculation linking him to the Chelsea and Manchester City managerial positions, although he is considered an outside bet compared to the likes of Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini who both recently left their former jobs at Real Madrid and Malaga CF respectively. Loyalty must be the first thing that comes to mind when Jurgen’s name is mentioned, as besides being a one-club man for Mainz 05 as a player, he seems to shun any speculation that comes his way. “I have been made aware of interest from England, and it is an honour to be linked with big clubs in the Premier League. But I have a contract with Dortmund until 2016 and am going nowhere. I love it here and have no intention of changing clubs”, said Jurgen Klopp.

The German coach even showed an emotional side to his game, as he was most recently seen giving his opinions about how painful it is to see Manchester United Japanese star, Shinji Kagawa play out of his position. He said, “One of the best players in the world and he (Kagawa) now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji’s best role. He’s an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw”.

As of now, Klopp’s focus can only be on one thing, and that is bringing the Champions League trophy back to the Signal Iduna Park stadium (Borussia Dortmund’s home-ground). Not long ago, Dortmund dispatched Real Madrid 4-3 on aggregate, although the scoreline flatters to deceive; the former dominated the first leg saw striker Lewandowski score all four of their goals in the 4-1 win. Typically, Klopp has been bullish about his side’s chances of winning, “We are uncomfortable opponents for anybody on this planet. (We will be) reminding them now and again that they have lost one or two big finals”.

The final promises to exhibit one of the most heated rivalries of late, as Bayern Munich will put on show a team that boasts players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Frank Ribery, Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben who all took out four-time winners Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate. Without a doubt, the responsibilities of winning the Champions League final will rest on the shoulders and legs of the players, but the spotlight will be on the star, Jurgen Klopp.

OswaldGerardEmmanuel

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