According to German magazine “Der Spiegel” Jürgen Klopp voted against the signing of Mario Mandzukic before the season. Instead the striker left for Atletico Madrid (22 million euro fee) and Borussia Dortmund signed Adrian Ramos and Ciro Immobile for 29 million euro.
The BVB trinity of Hans Joachim Watzke, Michael Zorc and Jürgen Klopp only signs players, when all three parties agree. 2:1 was the vote on Mario Mandzukic, as ‘Der Spiegel’ reports.
Was Klopp’s decision to put in his veto one of his biggest mistakes as Dortmund coach?
No doubt, just looking at the sportive parameters, it can only go down as a massive error. Mario Mandzukic is a pressing striker, internationally proven, ruthless in front of goal and gets stuck right in.
With 16 goals in 28 games for Atletico Madrid, he has proven, that he can score without the best midfield in the world to feed him. Surely, he would have filled the void that Lewandowski left much better than either Adrian Ramos or Ciro Immobile did and in hindsight Klopp would possibly vote differently.
But to comprehend this decision one must understand Jürgen Klopp’s policy. It’s the “no-dirtbag-policy” and Mario Mandzukic has acquired a reputation, that would rule him out for the Dortmund coach. The petulance Mandzukic showed in his final days at Bayern, that kept him out of the squad in the 2014 cup final, was alarming enough for Klopp.
The Croatian striker has made headlines with questionable goal celebrations, or even made taunting gestures towards the own bench, when scoring in a friendly. He was also known to hold communication with his teammates to a minimum.
Mainz manager Christian Heidel said about his experiences with Klopp’s policies. “Jürgen has rather ten percent quality than ten percent character waived.”
It’s a tough judgement to make. Borussia Dortmund never lost by more than two goals, in most cases a single goal would have made a difference in points. No doubt, Mandzukic’s poaching qualities would have helped the black and yellows and they might not be second to last.
On the other hand team chemistry has always been a big factor in Jürgen Klopp’s past. Selecting players who not only fit together as footballers, but as human beings also, is a very delicate way to build success. The question is, as the demands grow and the options for players with a certain standard decrease, is Klopp’s “no-dirtybag” policy still applicable without curtailing the on-pitch-quality?
Place 17 says it isn’t.
Question of the week: Should BVB have signed Mario Mandzukic?