Last season ended on a bitter-sweet note for Borussia Dortmund, with the near-glory of a memorable, all-German Champions League final and the loss of Mario Götze. Scott Jenkins takes a look at how Jürgen Klopp is moving on to face the new challenge of Pep Guardiola’s reign at the Allianz Arena this year…
Tuesday 23rd April is a date that will live long in the minds of Dortmund fans. Just one day before the club’s Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid, Mario Götze announced that he would be moving to the club’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich for €37million at the end of the season.
Media outlets across the globe questioned whether Borussia would be able to focus on the fixture and how the impact of Götze’s impending departure would affect the squad. Pundits predicted Jürgen Klopp’s men would be put to the sword, rattled by the departure, with Madrid not only boasting the phenomenal Cristiano Ronaldo but the self-styled “The Special One” managing from the sidelines. If any coach was able to take advantage of such a scenario and twist the knife, it was Jose Mourinho.
The news of Götze’s defection cut the normally enigmatic Borussia Dortmund manager, Klopp deep. Losing perhaps your best player, a potential world beater developed from the club’s own academy no less, would have hurt any coach, especially one so committed to nurturing and entrusting young talent as the former Mainz defender. Klopp later admitted in an interview with The Guardian that the loss felt like a heart attack, causing him to cancel the public events he had planned for that evening as he had been rendered speechless.
However, if anything the news that Dortmund would be losing their wonderkid to the all-dominant Munich monopoly galvanised Die Schwarzgelben, instilling a now-or-never sense of destiny to their European campaign. Though they had been written off against the reigning La Liga champion, 90 minutes later the scoreboard told a different story: “Borussia Dortmund 4 -1 Real Madrid”. Continue reading