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Opinion

Opinion: Klopp's departure a seismic shift for German football

The news that BVB coach Jürgen Klopp is leaving at the end of the season has shocked German football. DW's Jonathan Harding believes Klopp's departure is a reminder of just how much the coach has contributed.

Jürgen Klopp is leaving Borussia Dortmund. It doesn't sound right, does it? While this news is seismic and marks a sad moment of recognition for a club in need of change, the tremors of such a move have long been felt in what has been nothing but a terrible season for Borussia Dortmund and their head coach.

It's all been a far cry from Borussia Dortmund's most recent pair of Bundesliga titles, or the dramatic 5-2 thrashing of Bayern Munich in the German Cup, or even the special Champions League run of 2013 that ended in such heartbreaking fashion with Arjen Robben's last-minute winner. At the heart of it all was Klopp. The quirky, humorous coach released a crop of new, young players under a new style. He revitalized the pressing game in Europe, made Dortmund a ruthless machine in the process and promoted some of the current stars of the Germany national team. Not only has Jürgen Klopp written football history with BVB, but he has also contributed greatly to the rise in popularity of German football.

Jonathan Harding 1326 Latin Bonn 201503 18

DW Reporter Jonathan Harding

While that rise has continued, Dortmund's has not. Germany's current second "biggest" team sit 10th in the Bundesliga, 37 points behind league leaders Bayern Munich. Klopp's team has been off the pace, full of individual errors and a long way from the club that won over the hearts of so many during that epic Champions League run in 2013. And so has Jürgen Klopp.

Like his players, the charismatic coach has made some startling errors this season, all bearing the signs of a man desperate to escape the nightmare of this campaign. Klopp simply could not stray from his high-tempo, pressing style of attack this season. While many managers have their philosophies, the ability to react when it stops being effective is worth more. Take Pep Guardiola. When Bayern Munich left Dortmund with all three points at the start of April, Guardiola executed the perfect defensive, counterattacking game plan. Dortmund was full of promise in the first 10 minutes and then petered out.

The same cannot happen to Dortmund's season, for both Klopp and his players' sake. What the coach has achieved during seven years is nothing short of special, and this season should not tarnish that. A cup victory to finish is perhaps a fairytale too far; a top-seven league finish perhaps too ambitious. What lies beyond that matters little now. A passionate, rousing finale is what Klopp's marvelous tenure merits. And maybe then we'll see one more airborne fist pump.

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