Rarely has a coach resigning his post had more ripple-on effects than Jürgen Klopp's leaving Dortmund. DW's Jefferson Chase looks at who benefits most - and least - from the bombshell Klopp dropped.
Jürgen Klopp has come in for unaccustomed criticism over his tactics on the pitch this season, the worst in his seven-year Dortmund tenure, but off of it he's been nothing short of genius. His Wednesday announcement that he's calling it quits after this season could have been seen as the captain leaving a sinking ship. Instead, Klopp drew rave reviews.
His line "A big head to roll and in this case it was mine" casts his decision an act of sacrifice, which in some respects it may be. Conversely, Klopp has picked the perfect moment to step down. Mats Hummels could be heading out the door, Ilkay Gündogan too, and Marco Reus will want to have a word with his agent if there's no release clause hidden somewhere in his blockbuster contract extension.
If Klopp stayed, he'd have to commit to a rebuilding process with no guarantee of repeating his stunning success' gone. By seeming to fall on his own sword Klopp avoids any risk of damaging his own reputation. He can now virtually pick which top European club will be his next employer. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and even a post-Guardiola Bayern Munich have all been mooted as potential destinations.
One thing's for certain: Klopp will be in for a hefty raise from the 7 million euros annually he earned at Dortmund. And if he needs to wait a season to get his dream job, he can always earn some spare cash in broadcasting. Clever man!
Dortmund's big chill
It's hard to call Dortmund the big losers in this deal. BVB management knows it's going to have to blow up the team and try to build another title-caliber squad. But the 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga winners hardly emerged as winners on Wednesday.
The sad fact, and it was written in various lines on Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke's face, is that Klopp's decision completes a demolition job begun when Bayern convinced Mario Götze to defect in 2013. After that, Dortmund was like a Jenga tower, swaying more and more as piece after piece was removed. Klopp's departure topples the edifice that for two years succeeded in overshadowing the Bavarian giants. Rarely has Bayern's strategy of buying from rivals worked so well.
Watzke and sports director Michael Zorc are excellent football managers, so there's no reason to fear that Dortmund will go into free fall. BVB remains one of the most attractive destinations for playing and coaching talent in Germany, and the club has the money to compete for transfers, if not at the absolute top level. But as flops like Ciro Immobile and Henrikh Mikhitaryan show, not every new acquisition pans out. The immediate future at Dortmund is likely to be more about preventing a downward spiral than putting more silverware in the trophy cabinet.
Tuchel takes to the big time
Wednesday's other big winner was Thomas Tuchel, the man who has gotten the nod as Klopp's replacement. The former Mainz coach - who only six years ago was a completely obscure figure working in that club's youth ranks - is headed for the second most-prestigious job in German football.
A meteoric rise, but Tuchel could easily suffer an equally precipitous fall. His problem will be the inevitable comparisons to his predecessor, made worse by the many similarities between the two men. Both are Southern Germans, Mainz veterans and advocates of pressing football with a penchant sideline histronics and a haphazard approach to shaving.
So going to Dortmund is a risk for Tuchel. If he succeeds in winning titles, the ambitious 41-year-old would catapult himself into the coaching A-list occupied by people like, well, Klopp. If he fails, he drops back down into the category "good with young talent but not up there with the big boys."
Hamburg's latest debacle
Without doubt, the biggest losers on Wednesday were Hamburg. Only a week ago, Sky Sports reported - rather prematurely - that the embattled North German club had secured Tuchel's services. Hamburg even seemed willing to risk relegation to the second division for him. Last weekend, club chairman Dietmar Beiersdorfer categorically ruled out any further coaching changes this season, leaving the last-placed team in the less-than-capable hands of Peter Knäbel and holding the coaching seat open for a prospective long-term savior.
That guarantee lasted all of three days. Whatever Hamburg dangled in front of Tuchel, and Bild newspaper reported that it included 3.2 million euros a year, it wasn't enough. And once Tuchel had jumped ship, there was no logic any more in sticking with Knäbel, and second-choice Bruno Labbadia was quickly installed.
Not only did Tuchel show Hamburg and the rest of the world exactly where the club stand in the Bundesliga pecking order. Labbadia, who already coached Hamburg from July 2009 to April 2010 and didn't last long there or in Stuttgart or Leverkusen, is hardly the ideal candidate to change the club's general direction. Once again Hamburg is sacrificing future development for (possible) short-term survival.
Labbadia himself, though, has to be considered a Wednesday winner. He's been out of a job since Stuttgart let him go in August 2013. Hamburg represents perhaps his last chance to show he's got what it takes for the Bundesliga. If he succeeds in saving Hamburg from relegation, he'll be celebrated as a hero and even if he doesn't, his contract is valid for the second division.