DORTMUND – Borussia Dortmund Coach Juergen Klopp will leave after seven years in summer because he no longer feels he is the right man at the German top club, it was announced on Wednesday.
Klopp, 47, told a news conference that he had come to conclusion over the past weeks that his time was up after a difficult season.
“Dortmund need a change,’’ Klopp said. “There was no rift with the players and there will be no rift.’’
Managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke said the decision to grant Klopp’s release out of his contract until 2018 was reached in talks over the past days.
Dortmund also said they would not talk about a potential successor although former Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel is widely believed to a top candidate.
Klopp said he has no new club and doesn’t plan to take a sabbatical.
Klopp, 47, came to Dortmund in 2008 from Mainz and led them back from a difficult spell to success.
Dortmund won Bundesliga titles 2011 and 2012, plus the German cup in 2012, and reached the 2013 Champions League final.
They were Bundesliga runners-up to Bayern Munich in the past two seasons but the current campaign has been disastrous by Dortmund’s standard, currently ranked 10th in the Bundesliga after being second bottom in the winter break, and eliminated in the Champions League.
“Initiated by Juergen we held a few talks and reached the joint decision to end the path we had gone over seven years with unbelievable success,’’ a visibly emotional Watzke said.
“It touched us a lot, let you be assured of that. It is very difficult for us because we realised that we have a special relationship based on extreme trust and friendship.’’
Klopp said he owed it to the club to inform them early of his plans so that they could plan ahead because “this club deserves to be trained by a coach who is 100 per cent right.
“I knew over the years that once I have the feeling I am no longer the perfect coach of this extraordinary club I would say it.
“I realised in the last weeks and days that I couldn’t answer this with a clear yes anymore. In order to grant this extraordinary friendship I saw it as my duty to inform (sports director) Micha (Michael Zorc) and Aki (Watzke).’’
“It is quite a step to see something end you don’t want to end as a human being. The club was fantastic when we arrived and has developed and is even better now. You are a pro and have to reach a decision.
The decision is absolutely right, far away from the romantic memories which will always be there.
The Bild paper said that Tuchel, who was also Mainz coach from 2009 until 2014 and has been on a sabbatical since last summer, is believed to get a four-year contract as new Dortmund coach.
Tuchel was heavily linked with SV Hamburg, but Hamburg said on Wednesday that they ended talks, and have now appointed Bruno Labbadia as coach until 2016.
Klopp’s Dortmund exit will likely generate big interest in him from clubs in Germany and abroad, with plenty of speculation of a move to the Premier League.
Klopp did not want to talk about it, saying only he would not take a sabbatical like Tuchel, or Pep Guardiola between his Barcelona and Bayern Munich term.
“It is not that a weight is off my shoulders. I am not tired. I have no contact to another club and don’t plan a sabbatical. But, being a coach, I may have to do so. Nothing is planned.’’
Klopp said he will now turn his attention to the next game against Paderborn as he hopes that “we can bring the season to an end in the best possible way.’’ (dpa/NAN)
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