Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Latest Football News and Opinions From 90 Minutes Online

The Roots Of Heavy Metal (Football)- Jürgen Klopp Die Schwarzgelben

Kiss, the band, on stage

As the manager, who laid the foundations for much of the success that Borussia Dortmund have grown accustomed to, prepares to bid Liverpool farewell at the end of the season, he started the countdown off in some style by winning the League Cup this past fortnight. Meanwhile, a pipe dream among the wall of Die Schwarzgelben- the Black and Yellows -is that Jürgen Klopp might come home and have another crack at the Bundesliga. Not that current incumbent, Edin Terzić, appears to be in much danger of the dreaded vote of confidence as they currently sit in fourth, six points behind Stuttgart in third.

 




That they can even realistically expect a decent run at serial champions Bayern Munich, notwithstanding current league leaders Bayer Leverkusen, is undoubtedly down to the work put in before a seven year itch bit and the lure of Anfield proved too strong. His final season at Westfalenstadion proved quite the sign-off as he hauled his side from the relegation places into seventh and left things in a decent enough state for successor Thomas Tuchel. A man who will, of course, be departing Bayern around the same time as heavy metal football gets a bit of a rest... what better time to crank up the amps, eh?




But, there is a third man who can at least take some of the credit for the Dortmund resurgence- former midfielder Michael Zorc. Upon retirement as a player, following 131 goals in 463 league appearances, he became the club's sporting director until stepping down in June 2022, replaced by another former player and fellow midfield man Sebastien Kehl.



The Rise of Dortmund Under Klopp

It's Zorc's initial work behind the scenes, starting around the 2010-11 season, in tandem with Klopp's arrival in the dugout two years earlier, which continues to reap dividends with a focus on youth, both homegrown and scouted from abroad. The first crop hardly disgraced themselves by stepping up and playing their part in a seventh league title win, losing just three times- away to Eintracht Frankfurt, Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen.




Top scorer that season was Paraguayan Lucas Barrios, signed for 4.2 million Euros after spending the previous campaign in Chile with Colo Colo and going on to help himself to twenty-one goals in all competitions, as the Bundesliga was wrapped up with two weekends to spare!




If that weren't enough, their next attempt saw them retaining the title and going on to set a then- record eighty-one point bar at the summit. Another run of just three defeats played its part in the success- away to Hoffenheim again, Nurnberg also away from home and in front of the Yellow Wall at home to Hertha Berlin. This title was all the sweeter as part of a double with a DFB-Pokal final 5-2 thrashing of Bayern, helped by Robert Lewandowski's hat-trick against his future employers as he finished on thirty goals in all competitions to take the club’s top scorer crown.




He would do so again the following season, increasing his tally to thirty-six goals, though Dortmund weren't able to hit the heights again in finishing a distant second to Bayern in the league- sixty-six points to their ninety-one, doing away with the record they themselves had previously set! A quarter final DFB-Pokal exit to, you might have guessed it, Bayern, might have had heads dropping were it not for the considerable carrot of a run to the Champions League final. However, any effort to emulate the Dortmund side of 1997, on Europe's biggest stage, was ruined by the men from Munich to make it a miserable hat-trick. Mario Mandžukić put the nominal away side ahead on the hour mark, an Ilkay Gundogan penalty eight minutes later looking to have taken the game to extra time before Arjen Robben pounced with just two minutes to spare.




The 2013/14 season would offer a retrospective hint of just why Klopp would eventually feel ready to spread his wings, as they once again finished up second in the league with a similar gulf in points between themselves and champions Bayern- seventy-one to Die Roten's ninety. A narrow quarter-final exit to Real Madrid in the Champions League, with a 2-0 home win in the second leg thanks to two goals from Marco Reus not enough to overturn the visitors' 3-0 success in the first.




In something of a familiar pattern, Bayern would also deny them another DFB-Pokal success as two goals in extra time of the final, from Robben and Thomas Müller, made sure that just the one trophy would be making its way into the Dortmund cabinet. The DFL Super Cup secured after a script-upsetting 4-2 victory over the men from Munich thanks to Reus, Gundogan and an own goal by Daniel Van Buyten. Scant consolation in a campaign that saw Lewandowski finishing up with the Bundesliga golden boot, for the 1st time, with a modest twenty league goals.




A similar narrative would play out across 2014-15, the Super Cup proving Klopp's final trophy success with Dortmund as they once more locked horns with Bayern and prevailed 2-0, the goals coming courtesy of Henrikh Mkhitaryan & Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang.




His charges were unable to add the DFB-Pokal, a run to the final ending in a 3-1 reverse to Wolfsburg after Aubemeyang had opened the scoring in just the fifth minute, his effort cancelled out by strikes from Luiz Gustavo and Bas Dost. A week earlier, the last Bundesliga run-out under his management ended in a 3-2 home win over Werder Bremen, the seventh placed finish on forty-six points well behind winners Bayern on seventy-nine.




As recently as May of last year it seemed he couldn't resist something of a dig at them when asked by Sport BILD for his thoughts on the outcome of the title race back home-



“It’s no secret that I want BVB to be champions. Because what you experience afterwards is something you never forget: with the trophy around the Borsigplatz, that’s still one of the really big highlights of my career.”



Borussia Dortmund Post Klopp

While the first post-Klopp season ended with another bridesmaid's spot behind Bayern, just the ten points separating them this time, and a second consecutive DFB-Pokal final defeat, to the same opposition on penalties following extra time, there appeared to be a hint of regret from club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke as to how things ended with the new man's predecessor. A sense that he may not have strayed had he been given a bigger playing budget...



"Maybe it would have been better if we had replaced the entire team - and not the coach. It was clear to me that we would never get a coach like that again, but we would find good players."



Is it just pure coincidence that one of those later finds- Jadon Sancho, originally signed for £8 million from Manchester City as a youngster and going on to score thirty-eight goals in his one hundred and four appearances, is back on loan from Manchester United? Dortmund will surely hope that a Klopp-ish sense of diminishing returns hasn't followed him on the plane back.

Web development by Grifello.com