Will Klopp’s departure trigger a Dortmund downfall under Tuchel?
Borussia Dortmund have enjoyed a successful spell under German boss Jurgen Klopp but, after seven years at the club, their former much-admired manager has departed the Westfalenstadion, leaving a shroud of doubt over the club’s future.
The 47-year-old coach shockingly outlined his desire to cut short his contract at Dortmund earlier in the year, a wish that was granted at a team that he has guided to two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League final in 2013, having originally taken over when they were faltering haplessly close to relegation.
In 2008, after guiding Mainz to their first ever appearance in Germany’s top-flight and overseeing their qualification for the UEFA Cup, Klopp arrived at Dortmund, with the Black and Yellows having just finished a dismal season in 13th position.
An instant increase in form and confidence then followed in the gallant German’s debut campaign, leading the club to fifth, followed by sixth position the season after.
Part of Klopp’s success was down to his genuine appreciation for his players’ work ethic and his close relationship with every member of his squad, something which is echoed in their admiration for the German coach, including the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan.
#Tuchel: "Jürgen Klopp was more than a coach here. He had seven unbelievable successful years."
— Bundesliga (@Bundesliga_EN) June 3, 2015
Thomas Tuchel is the man chosen to replace Klopp at the Westfalenstadion, and the 41-year-old is keen to make an instant impression, but knows he has tough job to do.
“I’m overjoyed to be officially presented as Dortmund coach. I wanted to coach a top, traditional Bundesliga club,” stated Tuchel.
“Dortmund are at the forefront of the German game but we have some ground to make up on the other teams and that is a challenge.
“It’s extremely important that we rise to the challenge making up that ground. It’s about hard work, courage and tenacity.”
When Klopp departed his other former employers Mainz, they had dropped divisions and failed to recover from such a daunting drop.
A similar situation at Dortmund could soon be occurring, though without the relegation fears, with the club having dropped hugely from the form that saw them finish second to bitter rivals Bayern Munich last term.
New man at the Dortmund helm Tuchel faces a mammoth task of overturning previous poor displays this season and also retaining the services of many top names. Klopp was an obvious success at Dortmund, but one of his, and the club’s, fatal faults was the ability to hold on to their star players.
Since reaching the 2013 Champions League final, in which they were toppled by eventual treble-triumphing Bayern, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski joined their main rivals and European conquerors, while Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels are reported to soon follow them through the exit door.
Manchester United, and a host of European giants, are keen to acquire both Dortmund’s midfield maestro and dominant defensive stalwart, with the departure of both key players, along with Klopp’s exit, potentially set to mark the end of such a talented generation.
Polish poacher Lewandowski left the club without a recognised 20-goal-a-season frontman, while Gotze’s departure inflicted a gaping hole in Dortmund’s attacking midfield and seriously damaged their playmaking abilities. If Gundogan and Hummels are to follow suit, the entire spine of that previously potent line-up will have been completely dismantled and, as Klopp soon rides off into the sun, his former set-up will be rapidly diminishing behind him.
Tuchel will be the man guiding Dortmund out at the Westfalenstadion next season and he will need to call upon all of his experience of reinventing Mainz from a newly-promoted side into a regular Europa League place outfit, a challenge which is set to be extremely difficult at a domestically declining Dortmund outfit.