If you ask Jurgen Klopp, then he’ll tell you that his greatest ever achievement in football was securing promotion to the Bundesliga with Mainz in 2004. For a Premier League and Champions League-winning manager, that’s quite a statement. However, throughout his trophy-winning career, the German manager has been involved in some action-packed contests that will live long in the memory. So, let’s take a look at four of Klopp’s best results as a manager.
Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich, 2012, DFB Pokal Final, 5-2
Over the course of his career, the current Liverpool manager has only ever managed three clubs. Although many believe that Klopp broke through at Borussia Dortmund, it was his performances with Mainz on a small budget and with a thin squad that peaked the interests of those in German football. Ultimately, this led to the recruitment of one of BVB’s most iconic managers.
Having won back-to-back Bundesliga titles across the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, including his first at the Signal Iduna Park, Klopp became the latest manager to bring consecutive titles back to the Dortmund since Ottmar Hitzfield in the mid-1990s. However, despite their league success, the DFB Pokal final will always be remembered for being one of the German’s famous victories.
The match saw Dortmund face off against their rivals, Bayern Munich, in a Der Klassiker that had a trophy on the line. At the Olympiastadion Berlin, BVB not only defeated Die Roten, but they did in style. Having twice taken the lead through Shinji Kagawa and Mats Hummels, a Robert Lewandowski hat-trick put the game beyond Jupp Heynckes’ side. For the eight-time league winners, their demolition of Bayern showcased their dominance in German football during the early 2010s, while also securing a famous double.
Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid, 2013, Champions League Semi-Final First Leg, 4-1
Prior to securing the DFL-Supercup in July 2013, Klopp and Dortmund welcomed Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid to the Signal Iduna Park for the first leg of their highly-anticipated Champions League semi-final. Even though BVB would fall to defeat against Bayern in the final, Dortmund’s emphatic victory over Los Blancos is undoubtedly one of the most memorable in the competition’s recent history.
Despite having less possession than their opponents on the night, UEFA report that Klopp’s hard-working team had more shots. For the club founded in 1909, their ruthless display showed the footballing world that they, and Klopp, were a force to be reckoned with in Europe. Moreover, it also arguably proved to be Lewandowski’s best-ever performance in the Champions League as he scored all four of BVB’s goals. Interestingly, and according to the BBC, the Polish striker’s contributions saw him become the first player to score a hat-trick against Los Blancos in the competition’s history.
Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund, 2016, Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg, 4-3
For Klopp, being on the winning side of a high-class contest against his former club in Europe will have been very special. While Liverpool had, prior to this victory, demonstrated their progress under their 53-year-old, such as through their 4-1 win at the Etihad in November 2015, their unexpected comeback was a testament to Klopp’s philosophies.
Following a 1-1 draw in Germany, Liverpool were in control for the return fixture having scored an all-important away goal. However, things quickly went wrong for the Reds as they conceded two quick-fire goals in the opening nine minutes at Anfield. Furthermore, when Marco Reus scored in the 57th minute to make it 3-1, the game looked to be beyond the six-time champions of Europe. That said, in true Klopp fashion, Liverpool refused to be beaten.
With less than 30 minutes left to play, second-half goals from Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho, and Dejan Lovren sparked wild celebrations. Crucially, the Merseyside club had not only secured their progression to the Europa League semi-finals, but they had completed one of the great European comebacks.
Liverpool vs Barcelona, 2019, Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg, 4-0
The success and legacy of Klopp at Dortmund will never be forgotten, but few games in the history of football can compare to Liverpool’s famous comeback against Barcelona in the 2018-19 Champions League. Although they played well at the Camp Nou, the Reds had it all to do to overcome their 3-0 defeat in Spain.
What followed at Anfield in the second leg can not only be put down as one of Klopp’s greatest games, but also Liverpool’s. Having taken an early lead through a cult hero, Divock Origi. The 53-year-old introduced Georginio Wijnaldum for the injured Andy Robertson at half time, while already being without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. The Dutchman, along with Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking, proved to be the catalyst as the current Premier League winners shocked the Catalan team, who are currently 11/2 to win this year’s competition with Betway, as of July 7th.
Excitement and Unpredictability Follows Klopp
Ultimately, in addition to the above, there are many honourable mentions, including Dortmund’s 3-2 Champions League victory over Malaga in 2013, along with the Reds’ European triumph over Tottenham in 2019. Fundamentally, few can dispute the fact that Klopp has been involved in some of the most iconic games in the modern era of football. Because of that, it wouldn’t be a surprise if more followed in the coming years.