As German ‘Meistertrainer’ Jürgen Klopp’s 6th season at Dortmund comes to an end, has he done all he can with the German giants? Some argue that Klopp has unfinished business with the Champions League, but pastures new may not sound too disparaging considering the ‘always the bridesmaid never the bride’ second-fiddle-status that Dortmund are likely to play to the mighty Bayern Munich for years to come. Their dominance of both German and European football under Pep Guardiola looks like its gathering pace at break-neck speed. So, on further assessment, maybe it really is time for a change.
Borussia Dortmund are the perennial club lurking in the shadows behind the might of the Bavarians and the gap is widening at an alarming rate. Dortmund’s form this season, especially at home where they have lost 4 times, will see them finish almost 20 points, if not more, behind Bayern. Considering they had an injury plagued season, where at one stage their whole defence was in the treatment room, Bayern took full advantage and steam-rolledtheir way to the top of Das Bundesliga.
With a strong financial position and huge support within Germany (constantly filling out the Signal Iduna Park, formerly Westfalenstadion), Dortmund had previously carried on nonchalantly at Bayern’s constant tapping up of their prized assets. Even Matthias Sammer, ex-Dortmund defender, felln for the Bayern charm and has been their Sporting Director since 2012. However, something was about to give and one such incident that pushed the boat too far was the much publicised courting of young Mario Götze.
To say the Dortmund fans were greatly displeased is an understatement, but the Dortmund hierarchy had no choice and Götze signing for Bayern before last season’s Champions League Final left a bitter taste in Dortmund’s mouth. Götze’s transfer saga reared its ugly head again with Robert Lewandowski’s incandescent flirtation of biblical proportions last summer towards Bayern. Try as they might to hold on to their striker, Bayern eventually signed the Pole in early 2014.
Losing a player of this calibre, a little over six months from Götze’s departure would surely have played on the mind of Klopp. Who’s next, Marco Reus? Only time will tell. This continual slicing of the Dortmund team means that any long-term planning or team building is being hampered by the lure of football at the Allianz Arena. The departure of Klopp’s most talented players hinders progress and is certainly detrimental to team morale.
One consolation for Dortmund is their impressive youth system; Footbonout academy, which has churned out a couple of potential German internationals in the making, such as Erik Drum, and Jonas Hofmann. But this won’t last forever. For them to wrestle away the Bundesliga crown and have it back in the Rhine-Valley, Dortmund must show resilience and perseverance.
Surely Klopps’ nose is firmly turned westwards now, back across Western Europe – looking in bathed-breath at the possible opportunity to prove his wizardry at a different league. The much-loved, and most importantly, media loving German would fit effortlessly into the English game and the vacancy at Manchester United following the sacking of David Moyes is undoubtedly an attractive position. Klopp’s strength lies in his ability to get the most out of players, underlined by the progress of Shinji Kagawa under his tutelage. The Japanese midfielder has struggled at Old Trafford and the appointment of Klopp would provide ‘Shinji’ with an opportunity to resurrect his Reds career.
Furthermore, with the demise of the ‘Moyes Project,’ Klopp would lap-up the exposure, and have the English media in an almost frenzied state if this ever came to fruition. Despite Manchester United’s lack of Champions League football next season he may look at their current position as an ideal opportunity to prove his talents and return former glory to the Manchester faithful.
Klopp had this to say about England’s premier club:
“Man United is a great club and I feel very familiar with their wonderful fans. But my commitment to Borussia Dortmund and the people is not breakable.”
He has selected his words wisely, but considering Dortmund still have a couple of games remaining in the Bundesliga who’s to say his opinion will not change. Or better still, he could give some much-needed comfort after the abysmal season that Barcelona have endured and inject some much-needed life into a flagging team. This all really depends on Tata Martino’s (Barcelona Head Coach) future, which is on a knifes edge. So what Klopp is really saying is “leave me alone, I still have a job to do.”
All in all, change is on the horizon for Barcelona and with Manchester short one manager, Klopp will be stroking his beard with that trademark smile of his knowing that a fresh challenge is on the horizon. In keeping with true German efficiency Klopp will always focus on the job in hand whilst in the Dortmund public arena.
Liam Cairns, Pundit Arena.
Featured Image By Jürgen Jung, Fotosaar at German Wikipedia (Self-photographed) [CC-BY-SA-2.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons.