Jürgen Klopp has led Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title for the second season in succession, cementing his reputation as a legend among the club’s fans. Still, he will be eager to achieve more.
Popular figure, crowd-pleaser, father-figure, one of the guys and a strategic coach - Jürgen Klopp stands for all of this and more. His dry manner of speaking and his honesty, for example, have endeared him to football fans.
"Here, everything revolves around football," he said in an interview, referring to Borussia Dortmund. "I want more to come out of a game than merely the result," he said. The fact that Klopp expresses himself in this genuine way is one reason he is loved in Dortmund's heartland, the Ruhr Valley.
Another is that he has made Dortmund Bundesliga champions for a second time in succession. It's surely something of a nightmare for Bayern Munich.
'A passion for total football burns within me'
On the sidelines, "Kloppo" is known for ranting and raving. When an important goal is scored by his side, he races with delight to his players and throws himself into the celebratory scrum.
Relentless full-throttle, ever onwards. That was Klopp's promise when he took up his post as coach in 2008. The team should remain energized, he said, even after the title win in 2011. It was exactly that outlook that appears to have made the difference between his side and Bayern, a club that has heaped title upon title in the past.
The Dortmund players wanted more and they wanted to do things even better than they had done the previous year. It's an objective shared by their coach, who still hungers for more.
"Right now there is a lot more room for improvement in international competition," Klopp announced. But fans should not assume from this, that their club will secure the title for decades to come.
Cult figure further afield than Dortmund
As a player he was average. He went no further than the second league with Mainz. Then, he went from player to coach overnight in 2001 and led the club to the Bundesliga's top flight in 2004, even bringing the team to the UEFA Cup with a qualification for fair play.
After 18 years as either a player or trainer he finally made the move - to Dortmund. Here, he was to show that he could also make a breakthrough with one of the league's bigger side's. In the first year, he narrowly missed out on qualification for the Europa League, but he did it in his second year. In the third year, the team were Bundesliga champions. That was in his 100th game with Dortmund.
Although Bayern might have liked to think that this was a flash in the pan, the great feat has now been accomplished once again.
"I haven't got words to describe what this team has achieved," said Klopp, after the traditional beer-soaking of team and coach that generally accompanies a Bundesliga title win.
"It's just amazing. If ever there's a team that deserves to be champions, then it's us. The boys have shown their character."
Klopp has done this with a team that lacks nothing in enthusiasm and passion. He has kept the side constantly greedy - greedy for success. "We want to be among the best," he has said, stating one of his goals. Another is the long-term financial stability of the club.
Zorc's 'best-ever signing'
His coaching style is modern, and he sets out his teams in an offensive way, stirring them with rousing speeches. He even has an expert touch with the media, playing high speed verbal football with the journalists and winning over football experts with his genuine manner. Under him, many players have made the progression to the national side. Among them are Mats Hummels, Kevin Grosskreutz, Marcel Schmelzer, Mario Goetze and Sven Bender. "Deliver your best, take as much as you can from it," Klopp has always preached to them.
Dortmund's general manager Michael Zorc has said some months ago of Klopp that the 44-year-old qualified sports teacher had been the best signing of his time in charge. Klopp and the club appear to be a winning combination. Zorc contends that he, Klopp and the managing director Joachim Watzke form a strong team.
"The chemistry between us is very good," said Zorc. "The three of us have this bedrock to work on and, of course, that is great."
All three men recently extended their contracts until 2016 - as has the footballing gem that is Goetze. Even before the league win in 2011, Klopp had become the most sought after coach in the league. There was even praise from rivals Schalke and Germany manager Joachim Löw, for whom Klopp had already been touted as a possible successor at the helm of the national side.
A Dortmund landmark
Klopp was born in Stuttgart and raised in a small town in the Black Forest. And yet, at this time there is not a single Dortmund fan who does not believe that Klopp is not 100 percent Borussia and who does not celebrate him as a true Dortmunder.
One fan even had a picture of Klopp's face tattooed on his back next to one of the Bundesliga trophy. Although that was last year, it is valid once again after Saturday's win for Dortmund. "Jürgen Klopp, you're the best," resounds the chant from the largest standing soccer terrace in the world. Klopp has long made himself into permanent monument in this city.
Author: Olivia Fritz / rc
Editor: Andreas Illmer