Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has announced that he will leave the German Bundesliga club at the end of June, following seven largely successful years at the club.
The 47-year-old has endured a difficult season, with the club suffering its worst-ever start to a Bundesliga campaign, having ended 2014 just a single goal clear of bottom spot. Results have improved in 2015, pulling six points clear of the relegation play-off place occupied by Paderborn in 16th, but remain 37 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
“I always said that the moment where I believe I am not the perfect coach anymore for this extraordinary club I will say so,” Klopp said, who has spent more than 300 games at the helm of the Signal Iduna Park side. “I definitely believe this to be completely the right decision. No one should be grateful to me. Both sides have invested a lot and got a lot back.
“It’s very unusual for a piece of history in football to last for seven years. As a person, I would have liked to see that something so beautiful not have to come to an end.”
Renowned for his charisma in front of the cameras and passion on the pitch, Klopp ruled out any plans for a sabbatical but also did not expand on his next step. “I don’t think of it as a load off my shoulders. I’m not tired, even though I look like this.”
“This is difficult news for all of us. We had a special relationship and it was a very difficult decision to come to,” explained the club’s Chief Executive Hans-Joachim Watzke. “After such fantastic success at this club, [Klopp will] always be remembered by this club.”
Having been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, the DFB-Pokal remains Klopp’s final prospect of a trophy to add to the two league titles and one cup during his tenure. They will face Bayern on 28 April in the semi-final and the departing coach has his sights set on a fitting send-off. “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.”
Whatever happens in the climax of the season, his spell in charge will be best remembered for taking BVB to the Champions League final in 2013 – where they lost 2-1 to Bayern – while also finishing in the Bundesliga top two for the past four seasons, which a position they had failed to achieve since 2002. “In Klopp’s time at the club, we have written a footballing fairytale,” reflected the emotional Borussia Dortmund director Michael Zorc. “Everyone involved with the club should make sure that he has the departure he deserves.”