Dortmund’s Jürgen Klopp & the Premier League: No Guarantees
Seven years ago, 2008, a relatively unknown from Mainz 05, Jurgen Klopp, became coach at Germany’s most popular club, Borussia Dortmund.
Yesterday after 7 yrs. in charge, Klopp announced his Divorce with the German Giants at the end of the season and all hell is let lose as to which current struggling English Premier League manager he is set to replace.
The ever theatrical Klopp ended his first and second seasons in charge as 5th and 6th on the league table. The 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 season however saw him crowned as German champions with Dortmund also winning the DFB Pokal (German Cup) in 2012
2012/2013 was less prolific for Klopp and Dortmund on the local scene but internationally, he steered Dortmund to the champions league final ,losing to arch rivals Bayern Munich ,in an all-German final in London(Wembley Stadium).
Klopp’s Coaching Philosophy
Klopp’s success was synonymous to his off-loading of older Borussia Dortmund players in favor of younger talents, some from the Borussia Dortmund youth and transfers of extraordinary strikers like Robert Lewandowski who now plays at rivals, Bayern Munich.
An integral part of Klopp’s playing style is based on physical power play. Constant pressure on the opponent and quick counter attacking which is coupled with numerous runs in front of the player in possession towards the opponent’s goal.
He virtually tries to outrun his opponents with amazing speed and power. This explains to a large extent why young players are the basis of his game plan.
A plan that sees Jürgen Klopp acting and treating players like they were his siblings or younger brothers!
The Beginning of the end
December 2014 saw calls from certain sectors for Jürgen Klopp to be sacked! Dortmund were last on the league table, half the first team were out with injuries etc,star players from yester years had all jumped ship in direction of Bayern Munich (Lawandowski, Mario Goetze) and all of a sudden the erstwhile untouchable Klopp now looked vulnerable!
With a recent run of good form, Dortmund are back to tenth position but an alarming 37 points behind league leaders Bayern Munich (European football participation next season in dire jeopardy) and the loss this weekend to geographical Rivals, Borussia Monchengladbach, 3-0 seemed to be the back breaker as Klopp announced his departure.
Immediately erstwhile silent but steady speculations to his future destination, England, exploded as many saw him either relieving Brendnan Rodgers at Liverpool, Arsene Wenger at Arsenal or most loudly, Struggling Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City.
English Premier League Guaranteed success For Klopp?
Klopp excels with young relatively unknown players with him at the forefront in the media as “star” of the team. This dwarfs the players and will surely not go well with English star players. One of the reasons why star players are rumored to have left Dortmund under him
His playing philosophy needs time and youth players. In Germany this worked at the initial stages but now teams counter this with so much ease it is alarming as they all have found the antidotes; a Style relative to kick and follow but on the ground, this might play into the hands of tacticians like Mourinho, Van Gaal etc.
The theatrics that the rarely shaven Klopp is at liberty to exhibit on the touchlines in Germany, with referees,fans,opposing coaches will be heavily sanctioned on a constant basis by the no nonsense FA and will dramatically change his influence and presence.
Footballers are showmen, follow the money and above all love being the stars of the team, especially at top clubs in England (outside Chelsea)
Star players in English clubs might not welcome a manager like Klopp who will steal all the limelight from his players and affect their image rights and presence without conflict. Some believe that is one of the reasons why Bayern Munich went for Pep Guardiola and not Klopp.
Some might say but Mourinho gets away with that at Chelsea! Yes that’s true. But Mourinho has won the champions league twice, titles in all major leagues in Europe, is the special one and like it or not, in comparison, Klopp is far down on the ladder of achievements and status!
Klopp ended his withdrawal press conference by announcing that unlike Guardiola, he is not taking a one year sabbatical. In other words in a few days or weeks we shall read his next destination, don’t be surprised if it is, to the Premier League.