Speaking at a Borussia Dortmund press conference, head coach Jürgen Klopp confirmed reports that he would be stepping down at the end of the season. It marks the end of a special seven year spell for the 47-year-old.
Borussia Dortmund and head coach Jürgen Klopp confirmed reports that they would be parting ways at the end of the season, two years before the end of Klopp's contract.
At an emotional press conference on Wednesday afternoon, club chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke and sporting director Michael Zorc joined Jürgen Klopp to make the announcement.
"We've been talking to Jürgen over the last few days. At the end of this season, our time together will come to an end," said Watzke, speaking first at the press conference. "This is difficult news for all of us. We had a special relationship and it was a very tough decision to reach," he added, pausing regularly to control his voice.
"After such fantastic success, you will awlays be remembered by this club," Watzke finished, before standing to give Klopp a hug.
Klopp, normally charasmatic, was also emotional: "We've both invested a lot and got a lot back. No one needs to be thankful."
"I've said over the last few years that when I'm no longer the best coach, I will say so. It's very unusual for a piece of football history to last for seven years," said Klopp, suggesting that after his successful spell, he himself no longer feels he is the right man for the job.
Klopp emotional but clear on change
The timing of the decision does appear strange, as Dortmund still have seven league games left to play as well as a German Cup semifinal against Bayern Munich. "I chose this time to announce it because in the last years some player decisions were made late and you couldn't react," said Klopp. Interestingly enough, Klopp did say that the players found out about the news through the media, as he had no time to discuss it with them beforehand.
Taking deep breaths, Klopp added: "I definitely believe this to be completely the right decision. I think that Borussia Dortmund need a change."
In the morning reports by Bild, where the story first broke, former Mainz boss Thomas Tuchel was lined up as a possible successor, and although BVB refused to comment, Klopp did say that there was no truth behind fatigue being the reason for his stepping down. "This has nothing to do with me being tired. I read that this morning. I have not planned a sabbatical."
Klopp also said there was no truth to the rumors of there being discontent in the ranks after such a disappointing season. "It might have looked like I had problems with the team last week, but this has nothing to do with that. There has been no division or rift between myself and the team."
"My last wish is to finish the season in the highest possible position and that we can have an open-top parade with the cup," said Klopp with a smile creeping onto his face.
Zorc, with tears in his eyes, said: "In Klopp's time at the club, we have written a footballing fairytale. Everyone involved with the club should make sure that [Klopp] has the departure he deserves."