After the first three matches of the Europa League quarter-final stage had been drawn, it seemed that destiny had played a part with the final tie as Klopp’s former club met his current one.
For sure It will be an emotional homecoming for the Westphalians greatest manager who gave the Dortmund faithful back to back Bundesliga titles and broke Bayern’s dominance in German football during his 7-year term as a manager.
Last term was not a nostalgic one for Klopp’s yellow brigade, as they struggled to live up to their standards having faced a relegation battle which they avoided because of a post-Christmas resurgence.
The German club, however, failed to win any major trophy last season after being handed a defeat by Wolfsburg in the DFB Pokal final. Klopp nevertheless was given a resounding farewell by the fans for all his contribution.
Klopp believes the entire world will watch his ‘football fairytale’ return to Dortmund. As quoted by theMirror he said “I think the whole world will watch.I am really happy with the draw.I am really happy to introduce my new team to Dortmund. I am happy to show the boys this wonderful stadium and great city. We’re all happy.”
Undoubtedly it will be a great clash between the two clubs who boast the most vociferous and loyal fan base around the world. The atmosphere at both Anfield and the Signal Iduna Park is going to be electrifying with the fans being behind their players from the start.
It is going to be a tough contest on the field too with both the teams in good form coming into this quarter-final clash. Liverpool triumphed over their arch rivals Manchester United while Dortmund stormed into the quarter-finals by decimating Tottenham 5-1 on aggregate and are five points behind leaders Bayern Munich in their league table.
The 48-year-old German manager enjoyed great success while being at the helm of Dortmund by helping them win two Bundesliga titles as well as a German Cup. He also lead them to UEFA Champions League final in the 2012/13 season which they eventually lost to their German counterparts Bayern Munich.
A tough test for Liverpool
The draw will undoubtedly be the toughest one for the Reds as they are pitted against arguably the best side left in the Europa League.
Liverpool, though have all the first-hand experience required against this Dortmund side with Klopp having worked closely with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus and Mats Hummels.
Also, they will draw inspiration from the last time the Westphalians visited the Reds in a pre-season game which Liverpool easily won by a 4-0 margin with Philippe Coutinho doing the maximum damage.
The match has also brought back the Europa League into the limelight, a competition which has always played second fiddle to the Champions League and most of the time labelled as uninteresting by the fans and media alike.
Klopp, while contacted by ESPN FC, didn’t want all the hype following this match to fall on him. He is quoted as saying “I hate the hype around my person in these matches. I know about the business and all the circumstances, that’s clear, but I don’t like it to be honest.The game and the players, completely focused – or as much focus as possible – on all these guys. Then if somebody wants to talk to me after the game, I am available then.
“I was 18 years at Mainz [as player then manager] and then in my break, after seven years at Dortmund, I went for the first time to Mainz’s stadium not as a coach, just to go there. There was always another manager and I thought ‘I don’t want to disturb.’ I have a similar problem in Dortmund, to be honest.”
Reds have had a see-saw season. They failed miserably under Brendan Rodgers and seemed to be heading in the right direction under Klopp until the German manager was found out. The Reds have been extremely inconsistent this season with the loss at Southampton, a prime example of their deficiencies.
Liverpool would likely be going all guns blazing against the Dortmund side since winning the Europa League will get the Reds an automatic Champions League spot next season. A top four finish looks highly unlikely for the Premier League side who currently stand 9th in the table after their latest match with Tottenham ended 1-1.
The first leg will be played on 7 April at the Signal Iduna Park while the return leg will be played on 14 April at Anfield and both games will be exciting clashes to keep an eye on.