What does being in the Champions League final mean to you personally?
To be honest, I have never really thought about that and I also don’t think it really matters. I have had so many things to do, I haven’t even thought about it since we have reached the final. But once the moment of the final arrives, I will probably feel that it is the most extraordinary thing I have ever experienced in my whole sporting career. Michael Zorc still enthuses about the victory in 1997 and can commentate on nearly every single minute of this match. We will feel it when the moment comes, but right now I don’t have the time to think about it.
It really was an incredible season for the squad. Are you proud that your team has made it to the final?
Yes, in this Champions League tournament, but also throughout the whole of the Bundesliga season I have felt very proud of the team, because of the way they have coped with a variety of different situations. Everything we have done this year has had a positive impact on our Champions League performances. The guys have made use of what we have practiced and additionally they always performed on the pitch with all their heart. This season showed a little bit of everything, all feelings were represented. Of course there were some concerns in the match against Malaga, but also there was huge relief and many positive emotions. The 3-2 against Malaga or also the final whistle in Madrid were moments, which all of us will never forget.
Are situations like playing a final at Wembley the reason why you have become a coach and can you say afterwards ‘this is the biggest thing I can ever experience’?
To be brutally honest, I became a coach, because I am not good at anything else (laughs). But more seriously, I could be the exact same coach, but if I didn’t have such support of the club, such a great coaching team and most importantly, such incredible players in the squad, I would have never had the chance to make it to the Champions League final. I am also aware of the fact that not everybody gets these great opportunities, so this is really not the reason why I became coach. I see it more as the icing on the cake and a special moment, which we want to enjoy, but we will enjoy it our way, by playing really intensive football. There will be a moment in which we will be overwhelmed with what we have achieved, but right now it is not the time yet.
With what expectations do you travel to Wembley? What is your goal? Actually, there can only be one goal, otherwise you wouldn’t go there, right?
(laughs) Yes, it is not like the Olympic motto ‘The most important thing is not to win but to take part’. The preparations have been extremely intensive and thus there is just one reason why we participate in the final: To win it! I really hope that people will see that this is the reason why we go there. We have made it so far in the tournament whilst at the same time being the fairest team in the competition and this is also the way we want to present ourselves to the audience in the final, because we are convinced fairplay is the right way. I hope that this will also work out for us in the final. But I could also not claim we deserve it more than Bayern does. The team that wins in the end will be the team that deserves it the most. This we will have to respect and acknowledge if it isn’t us, but right now we still have some time to make sure it will be us who lifts the trophy. Until then we will do our best to maximise all our resources.
Why do you think it will be you, who lifts the trophy?
This is easy to answer: Because we have all the possibilities for it. We surprised even ourselves a few times this season. For example when we played against Manchester City, or several times against Real Madrid or against Shakhtar Donetsk. In the end we will have to adhere to the fact that we deserve to be in the final. And the one who deserves to play in the final also has the chance to win it, and this is exactly what we are focused on now.
Who has more pressure to succeed? Dortmund or Munich?
I don’t care about that, as it is not of importance. Ahead of the match both teams will feel the pressure and everyone will go there with the feeling that this might be a unique opportunity. What counts is how to shut out this pressure and to get into the match and focus on what is needed and expected. And as long you can see that bright light at the end of the tunnel, that shiny Champions League trophy, it is also easier to approach the task with a positive attitude and not get carried away with a feeling of anxiety. We will take on this challenge in a happy, joyful and free way and then we will see what happens.
Is it an advantage for you to play in the final against Bayern Munich, since you have proven various times in the past two years that you are not only equally strong, but even better than them?
The last two years don’t really matter when it comes to this final. The past results included two close defeats, in the Supercup at the beginning of the season and also in the German Cup quarterfinal. Additionally we drew twice in the league matches. If you look at the results of Bayern Munich this season, they basically destroyed anyone in a heartbeat, anyone but us. This is what matters now. We’ve always fought back, even if we weren’t in the best shape in some matches. When we are in our best condition –and this is the only thing we really need to talk about- we can beat Bayern Munich. We know this, and so do they. But we have to make it come true now. We know we will play against probably the best team in the world at this moment in time, but we also know we are the only ones who have the weapons to be an actual threat to them. And this is exactly what we want to capitalise on.
You are very often in the center of attention, without aiming for it. Would you rather have the squad and your coaching team be in the spotlight?
Yes, of course. I am a normal person and often things feel uncomfortable when being too much in the center of attention. But in the end it serves to the purpose. When I am in the focus, for example in a more negative respect, I know I can handle it, but I don’t know if someone else could to the same extent. Thus it is sometimes even helpful to have me in the spotlight. In the end it is only important to me that the team knows I am not purposely stealing their ‘thunder’ and they feel my respect towards them. We simply accept what’s finally being reported about in the media. Sometimes it is too much attention, but as time goes on, it gets less important.
Jürgen Klopp is proud to wear PUMA on the touchline and away from the pitch, PUMA are also partners of Borussia Dortmund.