Klopp maintains hex on Tuchel to make German FA Cup history
One thing was certain before a ball was kicked in the 150th FA Cup final: a German coach would be lifting the trophy for the first time.
Klopp, already a legendary figure at Liverpool, guided his team to the FA Cup with victory over Tuchel's Chelsea, who have now lost the final of this competition three times in as many years – and lost to Klopp's Liverpool in the League Cup final in February this year – also on penalties.
In fact, this final took a spookily similar path: both ending goalless after 120 minutes and both decided in Liverpool's favor in a shootout. Klopp has trumped — if not outwitted — his compatriot once again to solidify his superiority over Tuchel; Klopp has won 10 of their 18 meetings, with 5 ties and only three wins in Tuchel's favor. Tuchel is a gifted and decorated coach, of course, but Klopp has a hex over him.
A rivalry made in Germany
Naturally, they are compared because of the path their careers have followed, both graduating from Mainz and going on to lead Dortmund – with differing outcomes. Tuchel enjoyed some initial success over Klopp, with Mainz taking four points off Dortmund in the 2009/10 season, before Klopp's Dortmund went on to win back-to-back titles as he dominated his rival. Not much has changed in the years since, despite Tuchel going on to enjoy success at PSG and Chelsea. This time Tuchel didn't have the injured Kai Havertz to call upon on the big occasion.
Tuchel also doesn't like to be compared with Klopp, despite their similar career trajectories. "It's nice to be compared, but it's not nice because it does not tell the truth." he once said.
‘There must be one winner'
Klopp was generous in victory though, clinched 6-5 on penalties. "Outstanding, it was an incredible, intense game against Chelsea… we are mentality monsters but there were mentality monsters in Chelsea colors as well — it was one penalty," he said. "Chelsea played outstanding but in the end there must be one winner and that was us today."
Tuchel was fair too, in his analysis, speaking of his pride in his players: "Like in the last final, the League Cup, no regrets. I told the team I was proud," he said. "We played 240 minutes in two finals against maybe the most dangerous attacking team in the world and it's 0-0.
"I was sure during the match the momentum was on our side but unfortunately I was not right."
Klopp eyes Champions League
Klopp had already guided Liverpool to the Premier League title, League Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup, but the FA Cup had been the one missing trophy – not anymore. Klopp has now swept everything before him throughout his remarkable six-year Liverpool tenure.
Klopp and Tuchel have been prominent figures among the German coaches plying their trade at the very top level of the sport. Along with Julian Nagelsmann and Hansi Flick winning silverware with Bayern Munich, Klopp and Tuchel have been the faces of a fine era for German coaching.
There's one achievement for Klopp that would beat them all though: the quadruple. The fact it is still a possibility demonstrates Klopp's incredible work at Liverpool, but it could yet be elusive. No one has ever won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season but Klopp could still do it - Manchester City are heavy favorites to win the Premier League though.
Unfortunately for Klopp, he faces an anxious period ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28, with Mohamed Salah limping out of this London showpiece with an apparent groin injury.
Klopp's achievement – the first German to win the FA Cup – is a special one. But it's yet another special achievement to add to the list. It will hurt Tuchel that this loss came against Klopp, the man who has been getting the better of him for most of his career.
For Germany, it was a day to cherish as the country's finest coaches delivered a fascinating, if goalless final. This final was a good 0-0, but once again for Klopp and not Tuchel.
Edited by: Matt Ford