The legend is coming back to his stadium.
It is easy to understand that the figure of Jürgen Klopp has a certain importance in Dortmund. He will always have this status. Always! I remember a slip of the tongue before the final of DFB-Pokal in 2008. Borussia Dortmund had to face FC Bayern München and Jürgen Klopp worked for German TV as an expert. By then it was certain that Klopp would be the successor in Dortmund to the unlucky Thomas Doll. “I think that we… I think that BVB has a chance to win,” he said in front of the cameras. His smile, his charisma, his attitude, was already in Dortmund.
After years of hurt, after the almost-bankruptcy of 2005, after Bochum-Fans singing “If we want, we’ll buy you all” Jürgen Klopp symbolized a revitalization. At least we hoped that he could have an impact on Dortmund that maybe from season to season we would be able to play in Europe once again. What happened after that was not only the best time of my life as a young adult and as a BVB-supporter in stadium, it was more. It was a football revolution. 2008 Borussia Dortmund hardly avoided relegation. Now – eight years later – BVB is in the top-ten of Europe. Thanks to the combined work of Hans-Joachim Watzke, Michael Zorc and Jürgen Klopp.
Most important thing – not Bayern!
After it was certain that Jürgen Klopp would leave Dortmund we all hoped that FC Bayern München would not be an option. The movement of good coaches and players to FC Bayern (from every club) was and yet is a normal situation. Nevertheless, while Mario Götze really broke hearts and souls of fans and the club, Robert Lewandowski’s “Good Bye” more or less was just a “just-let-him-finally-free”-moment and more reminded me of the movie “Free Willy”. But I do not want to imagine the situation if Klopp directly would have become coach at Säbener Straße.
The English influence
English football has always had a certain kind of impact on German football. English grass, English atmosphere, English referee-acting. Due to the fact that England is the motherland of football, it is just logical to look for role-models on the British Isles. The Kop – the stand at Anfield Road – always seems to be a destination of dreams for football fans, even if many people feel that the so-called English atmosphere currently is less vibrant, or at the very least, less glorious.
But when Jürgen Klopp announced he would be coach at FC Liverpool, Dortmund fans cheered. I cannot talk for everyone, but FC Liverpool is something like a secret lover of many Dortmund fans. Definitely more than Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea. It is the mentality of an underdog and the similarities of a workers-city that certainly has an impact on this attitude and behaviour. From time to time you even see a Liverpool t-shirt or a scarf on the stand in Dortmund. We all were sure last year that we would have to watch one or two Liverpool-matches. We joked around that a final between Dortmund and Liverpool in the Europa League is possible. Now it’s come earlier.
Klopp always has a place
What will happen? We have some examples of players and coaches that were not warmly welcomed at all — Mario Götze and Matthias Sammer are two individuals that are always given a cold shoulder. Mario Götze’s situation will be discussed in another article. Matthias Sammer’s discrediting talk, for fans from other clubs, is hard to sustain. We also have examples of players and coaches who are still very popular. Jan Koller played one season for 1. FC Nürnberg and got a warm welcome in Westfalenstadion. He even had problems with FCN-Ultras (who are best friend with UGE/Schalke-Ultras). Ottmar Hitzfeld, although he went to Bayern, is also a person who will always is treated with the utmost respect and appreciation.
He’ll always be “our” coach, but not now…
Finally, Jürgen Klopp. There will certainly be a warm welcome for him. But that is all. We are opponents now. No one can take away what we as fans, the club Borussia Dortmund and the coach Jürgen Klopp lived the last couple of years. For at least 120 minutes this friendship will lie dormant and FC Liverpool with Jürgen Klopp at the side-line is an opponent as much as any other, even if Kloppo was, and probably will be, the most beloved coach in Dortmund.
But there is one thing more important – the success of the club. To beat Liverpool and to reach the semifinals is more important than anything else this season. It does not matter if Klopp or your own father would be coach at LFC. Borussia Dortmund fans are happy right now. The club is enjoying one of its best seasons in history. We will be part of Champions League 2016/17. We are in the Pokal semifinals and are the best second-place-team ever and we still (may it be very small) have a little chance to be there when Bayern does not want to be “Meister”.
Sorry for the truth…
And even though I may talk in blasphemy now, I have to say it out loud. Tuchel will never be as popular as Klopp, but I think he is the better coach. Nevertheless I pray that one time Jürgen Klopp will return to “his side-line”. On Thursday, no doubt, the feelings of the past will be silent for (at least) 120 minutes.
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