Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhy all the fuss about Jurgen Klopp? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Why all the fuss about Jurgen Klopp? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Why all the fuss about Jurgen Klopp?


We all know Jurgen Klopp is the genius who has masterminded Borussia Dortmund’s rise to the top of German football, since taking over in 2008 he has reshaped the side and took them from a 13th place finish under their previous manager Thomas Doll to successive Bundesliga titles in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. In this article we will look over the Germans managerial career and also look at how he’s led Dortmund to the top.

Mainz 05:

In 2001 Klopp made the decision to retire from playing for Mainz 05 and upon his retirement he was appointed as the club’s manager, during his seven years at the helm he guided Mainz into the Bundesliga for the first time and also to qualification for the 2005-06 UEFA Cup. After a difficult season in 2006-07 which saw the team manage only 8 wins and 10 draws from 34 games the team were relegated, Klopp chose to stick with the club and try and rectify the damage and guide them back up into the Bundesliga. However, after the 2007-08 season Mainz had failed to achieve promotion back to the highest tier and this unfortunately led to Klopp’s resignation.

Borussia Dortmund:

In May 2008 Dortmund approached Klopp with an offer to become their new manager, he eventually signed a two year deal with the club. In his first season at the club he guided them to a DFB-Supercup win over Bayern Munich and 6th place in the league, a steady improvement on the 13th place in the previous campaign. In his second season he led the team to a 5th place finish a slight improvement on his first season, it was the next two seasons in which Klopp really made a name for himself leading the club to successive Bundesliga titles. During the 2011-12 season the 81 points acquired by Dortmund was the greatest points tally ever amassed in the leagues history. On the 12th May 2012 he again made history by sealing the clubs first ever domestic double in a 5-2 DFB-Pokal final win against Bayern Munich.

How he changed Dortmund:

Before Klopp took over in 2008 Dortmund’s system involved playing a very rigid and narrow game, Klopp wasted no time in changing this and installed a new system which was far more expansive and involved fast closing down. With the ball they were now a free-flowing attacking side and without the ball they closed opponents down and tried to win the ball back as quick as possible. This change in philosophy was crucial in moving forward and it helped Klopp make an instant impact with a great improvement in the first season.

Dortmund CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke

“It was clear to us pretty quickly that Klopp and BVB just fit together. But it was not to be expected that the coach would get a hold of the team so quickly and fundamentally change the game style of Borussia within one year.”

Here’s a closer look at the new system Klopp put in place:[

As you can see the full-backs push high up the pitch and create space down the flanks either providing the overlapping runs for the wingers if they chose to cut inside or making themselves available for a pass if the winger goes to the byline and cannot get a cross into the box. Whilst the full-backs push on upfield the deep lying midfielder and the central midfielder hold their positions in order to still defend with four players when needed, although they defend in two banks of four instead of a flat four across the back-line, this allows them to compensate for the defensive loss due to the advanced positions taken up but the full-backs.

Another key part of the set up is the advance playmaker, often finding space between the lines to receive the ball and either drive forward or provide a through ball to the on running wide players or the striker. The wide players will either cut inside and make forward runs from the channels in behind the defence for the advance playmaker to put them through or receive the ball out wide and hit the byline to look for a cross. The lone Striker will sometimes drop deep making himself available for the ball, this pulls the oppositions central defenders out of position and provides the space needed for the wide players to get in-behind, alternatively he can also hold position and make space for himself in the box while the wide players hit the by-line and provide him with crosses.

Klopp was originally given a two year contract which ran till 2010 but after the impact he made during his first season he was rewarded with a contract extension till 2012 after just 9 months in charge.

After the change in philosophy which was a success in the first season came the personnel, Klopp invested in youth for the second season which led to the arrivals of Kevin Grosskreutz from Rot Weiss Ahlen, Sven Bender from 1860 Munich, Lucas Barrios from Colo Colo and Mats Hummels from Bayern Munich. This was also the season in which Klopp promoted Dortmund’s promising young star Mario Gotze who was only 17 at the time, after the youngster captained Germany U17’s to a European Championship and won the Fritz Walter Medal, Klopp felt he was too good not to play a part. Finally the 21 year old Turkish international Nuri Sahin returned from a loan spell at Feyenoord to take up a vital role in Klopp’s team.

These arrivals along with some other more senior players helped Dortmund improve once again from a 6th place finish to a 5th place finish in Klopp’s second season in charge.

It was in Klopp’s third season that he really became a success at Dortmund, he added to the team to improve on the previous good work and new arrivals Shinji Kagawa, Lukasz Piszczek and Robert Lewandowski helped the team take that extra step in moving forward. The team went on to win the 2010/11 Bundesliga title for the first time since 2002. Sahin was arguably the best player scoring 7 goals and making 8 assists for team mates, this led him to being named as the best Bundesliga player in 2011. Mario Gotze the youngster Klopp had put his faith in by promoting him the previous year weighed in with 6 goals and 15 assists for his team which was the best return for any 18 year old in the Bundesliga. New signing Shinji Kagawa who was signed for somewhere in the region of €300,000 had a great season which saw him make it into the Bundesliga best XI.

So, after just three years in charge Jurgen Klopp had transformed Dortmund from a rigid lower league team to an expansive free flowing title winning side, he had not only earned the respect and loyalty of his players but also the Dortmund hierarchy. He had made great use of young talent and built a fantastic squad without breaking the bank.

Moving into the 2011/12 season Klopp tied down wonder-kid Mario Gotze till 2016 which put an end to rumours of an imminent move away from the club. Although he lost Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United, Klopp acquired another fantastic player in Marco Reus who signed from Borussia Monchengladbach on a 5 year deal. Reus has currently played 11 competitive games for Dortmund scoring 6 goals

Dortmund currently lie in 4th place in the league after 7 games having won 3, drawn 3 and lost 1, they have made a slow start but looked really strong recently in the Champions League against Manchester City. Regardless of the slow start this season what Klopp has done since taking over is nothing short of brilliant.

Thanks for taking the time to read my article.

Rob Salisbury

Follow me on twitter – @1RobSalisbury


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