Wednesday 17 Jul 2024

Klopp pledges by Dortmund

Klopp who has turned Dortmund around and led it to back to back Bundesliga to stay put with the club till 2016

Rob Hughes / The International Herald Tribune/For The Goan | FEBRUARY 16, 2013, 10:14 AM IST

Jurgen Klopp is either perverse or simply old-fashioned. Ina world where every man is presumed to have a price, he played for only oneprofessional team and has until now coached just two.

“I have a contract until 2016, everybody thinks,” he said,that “if a club like Chelsea or Real Madrid come in for me, I will go. This issomething I can’t change, but they will see.”

Can’t, or won’t? Maybe it is the journalists who, for now,ask the questions. His team, Borussia Dortmund, is everything Chelsea wouldlove because it has style, it has rolling success, it has youth, and above all,it has an identity for playing the game in a way that would please an ownerlike Roman Abramovich.

The point is rammed home this week. Abramovich’s Chelsea, onits third coach in a year, won but then rapidly lost the Champions Leaguetrophy that the owner craved. Chelsea wanted Pep Guardiola as coach, butGuardiola considered the millions and no doubt the chances of buildingsomething in London, then opted instead to join Bayern Munich, starting nextseason.

Hence the call, the presumption, that Klopp was next inline.

But were the German to consider breaking his contract, therecould be any number of takers. Real Madrid and Manchester City, whatever theirseason holds, might already be looking for a new man to refashion their teams.

Paris Saint-Germain is now in their moneyed league. Arsenalcould be a better fit because of its stability and the imprint of a passing gamethat Arsene Wenger has instilled over 16 years.

And, speaking of patience, 2016 might be the year that AlexFerguson will call time on his own phenomenal managerial career. Now 71, butinsatiable still for trophies, Fergie has all but won back the English PremierLeague title and he is still bent on making it at least a double this season,with the Champions League on his mind.

Borussia Dortmund has played below its standards in theBundesliga after winning the German title two seasons in a row, but its form inthe Champions League has been as good as – or arguably better than – any otherside in the competition.

Dortmund underperformed in Europe last season. Klopp wasvisibly embarrassed by that, they however thoroughly outplayed Manchester Cityand Real Madrid in the Champions League group phase last autumn.

Not only does Klopp say that he has no reason to leaveDortmund, but the club reiterated that any approach would be wasted.

“I was coach at Mainz before Dortmund for seven years,”Klopp reminds us. “Each year, I could have left for a Bundesliga club, but Isaid no, I have a contract, I will stay.”

He owed Mainz. It was the club that shaped him, convertedhim from striker into a 1.9-meter, or 6-foot-3, defender from 1989 to 2001.Then, after staying on as coach, he lifted the team briefly to the Bundesligafor the first time in its modest history.

He left when he could do no more. He then took Dortmund from13th to first in Germany. The club, resurrected from financial ruin, sells aplayer a season, and may well have to release the Polish striker RobertLewandowski, 24, to Bayern Munich or Manchester United in June. Undaunted,Klopp nurtures talents like Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels, and buys youngsterslike Marco Reus and Moritz Leitner.

Flying beneath Bayern Munich’s radar? Perhaps. But Klopp isflying high and unlikely to be shot down by his club’s hierarchy.

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