Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Playing career

Jürgen Klopp played professional football for 15 years, spending 11 of them in Mainz. He only reached the second division in Germany. beginning as an attacking player but ended his career as a defender. He retired midway through the 2001-02 season to fill the coaching vacancy at Mainz after the club sacked Eckhard Krautzun.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Making Mainz

During Klopp's playing career, Mainz frequently fought against relegation to the German third tier. That changed when he took the helm at the club. In Klopp's third season, Mainz earned promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in club history. Klopp enjoyed three seasons in the top flight before Mainz were relegated again in 2007. He left the club a year later to join Borussia Dortmund.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Big step up to BVB

Klopp's appointment was part of a broader strategy change at Borussia Dortmund: to make football stars instead of buying them. He committed to 20-year-olds Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic as his center back pair — the youngest in the Bundesliga. Dortmund finished in sixth place and fifth place in his first two seasons at the club.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Trophy run

From 2010 to 2012, Klopp lead Dortmund to their most successful two-year stretch in club history. They won their first Bundesliga title in nearly a decade in 2010-11. Klopp followed that accomplishment up by leading BVB to their first domestic double in club history the next season.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Fan favorite

It didn't take long for Dortmund fans to fall in love with Klopp. His press conferences became a weekly spectacle and his energy on the touchline became contagious. On the pitch, he implemented an active, high-pressing system that brought BVB, a club that was only a few years removed from near insolvency, back to the pinnacle of German football.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

European precipice

Klopp did not secure domestic silverware after that two-year run, but he did lead Dortmund to the Champions League final in 2013 — their first final since their 1997 title. His side ultimately came up short against Bayern Munich, losing 2-1 late on to hand their German rivals a piece of their treble that year.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Bitter end

Klopp's last season with Dortmund in 2014-15 was far worse than any other. His side was second bottom at the winter break, though Klopp wound up leading them to a seventh place finish. He did manage to get BVB to the German Cup final before losing to Wolfsburg. Dortmund and Klopp decided to part ways after the season, ending his seven-year stint with the team.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

'The Normal One'

It didn't take long for Klopp to land back on his feet. Liverpool appointed the German coach in October of 2015, less than five months after he parted ways with Dortmund. In his first press conference, Klopp dubbed himself "The Normal One" — after being asked how he fitted in compared to the likes of Jose Mourinho, who notoriously once called himself "a special one."

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Roaring Reds

Liverpool fans took to Klopp's highly animated coaching approach, but it didn't initally lead to success. The Reds finished eighth in the Premier League in his first season, though he did lead them to the Europa League final before losing to Sevilla. But he guided Liverpool to the Champions League with a fourth-place finish the following season before their third place finish this past season.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Adored once again

Much like he was in Dortmund, Klopp has become a club favorite at Liverpool. His passionate personality and the attractive attacking football enabled by players like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have proved a real hit in the stands. On Saturday, Klopp could provide fans with a sixth European Cup/Champions League title. But the real prize remains a league title; Liverpool's last was in 1990.

Jürgen Klopp's career in football

Opportunity missed

Jürgen Klopp guided Liverpool to the brink of the biggest title in European club football. However, an injury to Mo Salah and two blunders by German goalkeeper Loris Karius put paid to Liverpool's hopes of winning the 2018 Champions League as Real Madrid made history at their expense.

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