Author Topic: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago  (Read 1932 times)

Offline nil three four nil

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An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« on: June 29, 2020, 10:18:25 PM »
While strolling through the revivatalized 2015 WBA home draw thread, I remembered that almost a decade ago, I wrote an article for Schwatzgelb, the Dortmund fan board, about a pretty similar Klopp moment.

I thought that maybe now would be time to translate it and share my story with you, because it is so 100% Klopp in his motivation, execution and outcome.
Sorry that I only made a rough translation, but I do not find the time for more effort right now, and don't want the good opportunity to pass by.


Firstly, a very quick historical background:

in 2003/04, his third full Mainz season as head coach, the one that ended with promotion, things were not looking good before matchday 29, and even worse right after:

https://www.fussballdaten.de/2liga/2004/29/

They lost to Fürth and, realisticly, lost the last chance to keep in the promotion race, given the point gap and their current form. It would have been the third missed promotion in three years, with the two before being highly dramatic (first with only one point missing, the year after with a single goal missing in goal difference)

That's where my text starts.


Quote
(...)

One afternoon in April 2004, I sat in the production studio of a Munich sports broadcaster and was quite disappointed. Mainz had just lost in Fürth, again; the promotion, that had already been quite unlikely for a while, finally spoiled. Again. But this time it felt even worse than the dramatic last minute non-promotions of the last two seasons. Because this time the club had not proclaimed "playing football and having fun" as a seasonal goal, no, this time they had targeted a bit more. Had taken some risks. Had reinforced the team, but maybe by that they had made everybody, the team, the fans, the environment, just more nervous instead of better. This time the supposedly missed promotion was a missed target, with all the negative consequences (budget cuts, collapse of euphoria, increased criticism of the media, and so on). So again, a missed promiotion, how often does a club manage to put it away, to re-motivate themselves? Especially if you had tried everything this time, invested everything, and yet the downtrend is starting to take shape?

Time to say a few words about myself: No, I'm not and was never a Mainz supporter. Sympathizer, oh yes. Football fan with a weakness for down-to-earth underdogs, always. Grown up in the environment of Eintracht Frankfurt, but did I want to support an association whose president would rather invest my money in escort services than in debt reduction? Later it had taken me to Munich, but would I like to support TSV 1860, whose president tried everything to transform his club into a cheaper copy of the unloved rival? So I was a quite homeless, liked Freiburg, liked good honest work, liked offensive thinking young teams, loved the European Cup. And I really liked Mainz: a cool, smart, funny and authentic manager, a "do not complain - take what you have" mentality, relatively cheap players but with a superior idea of football.

But wait - was the idea of football still superior in this season 2003/04? Things began to crumble in the club, the reinforced team rarely showed their potential, instead, in many games they seemed to suffer from the risen expectation. No offensive fireworks anymore, no exciting, passionately won matches. They were no longer the best non-promoting team in 2nd division history, like they had been two years ago. Also they were no longer the most dramatic non-promoting team of all time, as they had been in the previous year after a bizarre couple of extra time goals for Eintracht Frankfurt in the final minutes of the season. No, instead they were developing into gray mouse (German football term for totally uninteresting clubs/teams) in red. Too many draws, too much insecurity, fear of the ball, fear of responsibility. Suddenly only on 8th place, five matchdays before the end of the season, despite on paper having the best FSV team ever. Over and out.



That’s the way I felt it, sitting in this studio near Munich. And the Mainz fans obviously saw it the same way, sitting on the standing terraces of the Fürth stadium. The fans, who had been standing behind the squad in the years before in such an extreme way, praised throughout the Country for their positive support, just sat there. No applause when the team came to the obligatory supporter shakehands at the fence, no blame, no word, no reaction at all. Nobody stood up, nobody went to the fence, no one said, or yelled, a word. This 1: 3 had been too much, the sight of this cramped team, who wanted so much that nothing worked at all; who endured this defeat and the bursting of the last hope for promotion almost apathetically. Just as apathetically, the team now sneaked away from the stands, heading for the dressing room, and the story would have ended right here.

If there had not been a certain Jürgen Klopp, working as Mainz manager, at that time.

Klopp must have known that in principle, the hopes for promotion had been completely ruined. 8th place, only 5 games remaining, and a 6 point gap to 3rd place. But he must also have sensed that this strangely passive performance of his team did not only mean the 20th not-winning game of the season. So Jürgen Klopp went to the fence, asked the fans for their megaphone, and I turned the TV as loud as possible to try to get as much as possible of that spontaneous speech via the stadium atmosphere microphones.

The speech was not long, but typical Klopp. You will know how that is meant. And because it was so typical of Klopp, it electrified me right away, over a distance of 150 kilometers and a poorly adjusted microphone, and even eight years later I know pretty well what he said. That he felt sorry for how they had screwed up. That the fans might not always be able to see it, but that the team really, really! wanted, maybe wanted too much, and therefore could not do what they wanted. That he himself did not know exactly how he could set up the team now, but that, come summer, he would take the time to learn his lessons from this season and to make it better again next year. But that this would only work if the fans, and indeed all the fans, would support him and the team as unconditionally as in the past.

And that he would now be annoyed for a few more days about the failed season, but then he would start the preparations again for a new, definitely better next season. That it was probably the best thing you could do now: let it be, simply try to enjoy football again for the last five games of the season, play free of expectations and have fun together again. And that they, the fans, should keep it the same, because he could promise them here today that Mainz 05 would get up again. And that he would already be looking forward to attacking alltogether again starting in August. If they, the fans, would be willing to try it again with this team...

When Klopp returned the megaphone, the fans stood and cheered, and while Klopp disappeared towards the dressing rooms, the first Mainz players trickled out, because the entire Mainz fan block had loudly started singing "we want to see the team".


The rest is quickly told, and football history: After reunification at the Fürth fence, the team, freed from the uncertainty in dealing with the fans, finally played football again, real and free floating football, grabbed 13 points from the final 5 games, scored 13 goals; and as the competitors were even more nervous, the season ended against all odds with Mainz’ supposedly impossible promotion.

I do not believe that Jürgen Klopp considered this miraculous development even possible. No normal-thinking person should have expected that all competitors would collectively lose so many points.
I really think Klopp only wanted to restore the unity between the fans and the team, to take away the fear of the fans and their expectations from his players. The reward for this courage, his openness in dealing with the fans, the willingness not just to hide in the moment of the worst defeat, but to face and to strengthen those that he had disappointed ... the reward for this was unexpectedly lush. Promotion, “national TV Coach” during WC 2006, later then a job in front of the largest grandstand in the world ... And as an addition, since this day Klopp has one more die-hard fan, a guy from Munich who has been following him since then, and so four years later to Dortmund as well (which is also easy for me because BVB meanwhile also shrunk to a down to earth underdog).

(...)

Online Dim Glas

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 11:03:00 PM »
Thanks for posting! And yep, how very Kloppo  ;D

Maybe you can post it in this thread too:

https://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=343673.2560

Then it won’t get lost and hopefully more people will see it!
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Offline Dr. Beaker

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 11:16:18 PM »
'Fan'tastic that mate. Thanks for taking the time and effort. Needs to be, and will be, read by all!
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Offline MBL?

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 12:32:54 AM »
That was a great read, thanks.

Offline soxfan

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 02:32:10 AM »
Fantastic story. I was not aware of the details. Thank you! :)
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Offline ThePoolMan

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 06:35:58 AM »
While strolling through the revivatalized 2015 WBA home draw thread, I remembered that almost a decade ago, I wrote an article for Schwatzgelb, the Dortmund fan board, about a pretty similar Klopp moment.

I thought that maybe now would be time to translate it and share my story with you, because it is so 100% Klopp in his motivation, execution and outcome.
Sorry that I only made a rough translation, but I do not find the time for more effort right now, and don't want the good opportunity to pass by.


Firstly, a very quick historical background:

in 2003/04, his third full Mainz season as head coach, the one that ended with promotion, things were not looking good before matchday 29, and even worse right after:

https://www.fussballdaten.de/2liga/2004/29/

They lost to Fürth and, realisticly, lost the last chance to keep in the promotion race, given the point gap and their current form. It would have been the third missed promotion in three years, with the two before being highly dramatic (first with only one point missing, the year after with a single goal missing in goal difference)

That's where my text starts.



That is a great story and shows what Klopp is all about,

Offline McrRed

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 06:56:34 AM »
Brought a tear to my eye, that... a reminder of how lucky we are to have the best man/manager in the world at our helm.

Thanks 0340.

Offline No666

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 07:01:41 AM »
Thanks for posting. Great read, quintessential Klopp in one anecdote.

Offline Oscarmac

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 07:28:37 AM »
Enjoyed the story, am more enlightened than surprised. What a coach, what a man.

Thanks for posting.
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Offline Willy Poolman

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 07:52:02 AM »
That's a great story, so thanks for sharing it here, 0340. Jurgen's character shines through in that little vignette, and it doesn't surprise me to hear that he inspired team and fans alike, while still retaining a humble, down-to-earth attitude. No blaming, no criticism, no sense of entitlement. I love the example he set then, and how he still does it today.

Offline rojo para la vida

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2020, 07:52:40 AM »
Another script for what will be the best biopic ever.

Offline Smellytrabs

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2020, 08:25:29 AM »
Great read, thanks for posting it!

Makes me think a little about the way Klopp got the team to celebrate the WBA 2-2 draw with the Kop. He totally understands the fans reactions and can spot crucial moments both positive and negative. So many of our rivals took the piss out of us for that, but we knew, we fucking knew because Klopp knew, he got it, he was going to make sure the players got it.

Offline AlphaDelta

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2020, 09:02:32 AM »
Fantastic post, great read, nice one.
"I know this is a place for big football moments - we didn't start this story, there were other people. But we know about our responsibility to try to write a few nice stories in football and tonight it was a really nice story."

Online royhendo

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2020, 09:39:10 AM »
It's beautiful this - the perfect illustration of the acceptance paradox too, on all fronts and levels.

Lovely stuff - thank you for posting it!
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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2020, 09:56:40 AM »
What a great story, thanks for sharing it mate

Offline elbow

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2020, 10:25:34 AM »
Fantastic, loved that. Thanks for taking the trouble.
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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2020, 11:34:08 AM »
This is a great story because I can completely imagine Klopp doing something like this. It's no coincidence that he seems to be good at completing footballing miracles. Like Barca last year and some of his European ties at Dortmund were similar. Like in this story he might have not thought htat they would go up just like he maybe didn't think we'd beat Barca 4-0 but he never actually gave up. That's the key.
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Offline Red-juvenated

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2020, 02:26:43 PM »
Nice read that, Klopp is a total football, through and through.
Great fit for Liverpool fan base.
Looking forward to being a mighty success under him.
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Offline zero zero

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2020, 04:47:10 PM »
That was a very pleasant read.

Tanks for all the effort in putting it up for us

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2020, 05:36:58 PM »
I tell you boys, the man is a German Shankly. He gets us. He gets football.
Imagine him and Bill at Melwood. “Conquering the bloody world“ and awaiting “a team from Mars”.
Two of the greatest managers and football enthusiasts ever.
Great article 0340.
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Offline nil three four nil

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2020, 05:42:52 PM »
This is a great story because I can completely imagine Klopp doing something like this. It's no coincidence that he seems to be good at completing footballing miracles. Like Barca last year and some of his European ties at Dortmund were similar. Like in this story he might have not thought htat they would go up just like he maybe didn't think we'd beat Barca 4-0 but he never actually gave up. That's the key.

Yeah, it was a bit like "okay we have failed, but then why not failing in the most beautiful way?"
So my story from 2004 not only relates to the WBA draw, but also a bit to that nil three four nil vs. Barca.

Offline Wingman

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2020, 11:46:44 PM »
Love that. Thanks for sharing

Offline kavah

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Re: An untold Klopp story from 16 years ago
« Reply #22 on: July 1, 2020, 12:36:12 AM »
... nil three four nil

Now I know what your user name is all about  ;D

Great post - thanks very much for putting it on here.