Jürgen Klopp has made it official – he will leave at the end of this season. Borussia Dortmund terminate his contract at the 30.05.2015. It’s a news hard to stomach for every Borussia Dortmund fan. Klopp’s contract was running out initially in 2018 and everyone procrastinated on the thought of what might come after Jürgen Klopp. Now BVB will have to face that thought much, much sooner than they would have hoped.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke fought his tears, as he started one of the saddest press conferences in the club’s history. It was notable that the Dortmund boss never asked for this and unhappy about it. Firing Jürgen Klopp would have been ludicrous. Since 2008, Klopp and his coaching staff brought Borussia Dortmund back from the dead and refurbished the club to a glamouring global brand, far beyond the imagination of anyone back then. Initially Klopp was hired, to transform the ponderous football into exciting one. Success wasn’t the main priority, rather than passion. Watzke was keen to see a football side, that wouldn’t necessarily be a result-machine but make sure, that fans go home, feeling their team at least gave their all.
But BVB got much more than that. They got a highly charismatic and entertaining chap, who stood out of the mass of grim-looking, taciturn Bundesliga coaches and delivered a team of young, dazzling footballers, who were also playing his refreshing brand of full-throttle football. Every BVB fan can feel lucky to have witnessed this kind of “modern fairy-tale in sports” as Michael Zorc described it. Two championships, a double, a run to the Champions League final were all achieved in, what feels, like a very brief amount of time. In the end it will have been seven years, when Jürgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund part ways.
A very long time in the football business, but not a single second of it has been boring. Besides being a great football coach, Jürgen Klopp is simply a great guy, you just got to love. Opinionated, humorous – and Hans Joachim’s favorite adjective: authentic. In other words Jürgen Klopp is popular in the way, that Dortmund fans could strongly identify with him. His interviews and side-line rants, helped BVB to develop into a global brand and while the football was dazzling, Jürgen Klopp helped a lot to make the ascent even more special. Although it appears fairly insufferable to any Dortmund fan, it’s the reason why any press associated with the Premiere League jumped in on the news like a reckless red-eyed pack of wolves. Where would he go next? Frankly, I don’t care.
More importantly, is it the right decision for him to leave?
Jürgen Klopp thinks so.
“I have said that when I have the feeling that I am no longer the right coach for this extraordinary club, then I would say that. In all stages of me working for the club, I’ve engaged myself with that question and questioned myself. I’ve realized in the last few weeks and days, that I wasn’t sure that I’m no longer the right person, but I also couldn’t answer the question with a ‘yes’ either.”
It’s not surprising Jürgen Klopp feels this way, after such a season. He has found it hard to reproduce the success of previous years and feels this club can hardly prosper, when every match is compared to former glory.
“It has to be hard to imagine, how tough it is, to make such a decision. To say ‘one is professional’ despite the extraordinary conditions. Borussia Dortmund was great when we arrived, but is even more magnificent now, which makes it all the harder. I think it’s the absolute right decision and I think the club deserves to be coached by a someone who is a hundred percent right.”
Self-consciousness is great and we all know, how much Jürgen Klopp is in love with Borussia Dortmund. He made a great sacrifice for the sake of the club, though only hindsight will tell us, whether Klopp is actually right about this. What if Klopp is currently not a hundred percent right for this club, but there still is not a more suitable solution out there? I mean, one has to consider the dynamic of the trinity, that is Zorc, Watzke and Klopp, just like the dynamic of Klopp and his players. He is the reason why many players stayed loyal to the club, despite contract offers with better value. Borussia Dortmund had to rebuild anyway, but they probably would have preferred to it rather with Klopp than without him. Now the fluctuation of players might be higher than initially planned, since being coached by Jürgen Klopp has always been a great argument for players to stay on. One can also not neglect the fact of Klopp’s commercial value. He is simply highly marketable and Borussia Dortmund have made the most out of it so far, as Klopp helped a lot getting sponsors to splash the cash.
On the other hand, there is a Borussia Dortmund side, who failed to bring in results and have hardly dazzled the crowds with great football either. Tactically, Klopp seems to be stuck in a rut, as his side encounters the same problems over and over again. There are so many factors [World Cup, no season preparation, injuries, players out of form, etc.], that influence this season, that it’s hard to say whether Klopp is to be blamed for all this or not. We don’t know whether BVB find a solution to re-enter the road to sustainable success, but Klopp has said it himself “The club is bigger than everyone.” and even without Klopp Borussia Dortmund will continue to be amazing and to seduce the crowds.
All we can do is thank Jürgen Klopp for the great seven years and enjoy the last couple of games before a new era begins and hopefully fulfill his dream to leave on a high note: “I have one last dream, I want to finish on the best place possible on the table and drive on a truck around the Borsigplatz.” I don’t actually want to think about the moment, when he actually says farewell…
It will never be quite the same without him and he will forever remain a legend here at Borussia Dortmund, as he has done more for the club, than anyone could have asked. Danke, Kloppo!