Borussia Dortmund this Wednesday granted Jürgen Klopp’s request to prematurely release him from his current contract, which was set to run until 30 June 2018. At the behest of the head coach, an agreement was reached whereby Klopp will leave his position at the club at the end of the 2014/2015 campaign.
“Together we've made the decision to bring the incredibly successful journey we've taken together over the course of the last seven years to an end when the season draws to a close,” explained Chief Executive Hans-Joachim Watzke. According to Klopp, the club’s immediate focus must be to secure “the best-possible league finish”. And with BVB now in the semi-finals of the DFB Cup, the coach said he hoped to have “another good reason to take the bus up to Borsigplatz come the end of the season. Our objective is to finish the season as brilliantly as we possibly can.”
A visibly moved Watzke said: “We realised during the course of our talks that we all have Borussia Dortmund’s interests at heart and that we've built up an extraordinary relationship with one another - one which involves a great level of trust and friendship.” Watzke then turned to Klopp, before adding: “You have the eternal gratitude of all Borussia fans. The only consolation I can take from this is that our friendship will continue.”
Sporting director Michael Zorc said: “Over the course of the last seven years we've written a modern footballing fairytale together. The team will give you the send-off that you deserve and one that does justice to your seven years here.”
The decision had nothing to do with the club’s current sporting plight, assured Jürgen Klopp. The coach simply wanted to give the club the time required to appoint a successor and to continue their personnel planning in relative peace, saying: “At times in the last few years we've suffered from the fact that certain player decisions were taken too late. That must not be repeated.”
Klopp admitted to being unable to answer the question of whether he was still the perfect coach for such an extraordinary club with a clear yes over the course of the last few days, before adding: “I believe that this decision is definitely the right one if you remove sentimentality from the picture. It’s not that I’m tired. And there isn't and never has been friction between myself and the team. But the team deserves to be coached by the 100% right manager.”
Most successful coach in the club's history
With Klopp at the helm, Borussia Dortmund have won two Bundesliga titles (2011 and 2012) and claimed the club’s first-ever “double” of league title and domestic cup in 2012. Under his leadership, other notable successes include two second-place finishes (2013 and 2014), two appearances in finals (2013 UEFA Champions League and 2014 DFB Cup) and three victories in the German Super Cup final (2008, 2013 and 2014). Despite the club’s sporting difficulties in the current campaign, Klopp is the most successful BVB coach of all time having achieved an average of 1.91 points per Bundesliga match - ahead of Ottmar Hitzfeld on 1.85 and Matthias Sammer on 1.74.
Hans-Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc refrained from answering any questions about who will be appointed as Klopp’s successor at today’s press conference: “We need to show respect. When there’s something to announce, we’ll announce it.”