With all eyes on Borussia Dortmund following the club’s narrow second-place finish in the Bundesliga this past season, fans are anxious to see their beloved Black and Yellow back in action. Undoubtedly the most anticipated friendly for the club this summer, the July 19 fixture with Liverpool grants Dortmund fans the opportunity to watch their squad challenge one of Europe’s most talented groups managed by former Dortmund hero, Jurgen Klopp.
Supporters of the Black and Yellow are no strangers to Klopp, who served as Dortmund’s manager from 2008 to 2015, a remarkable stint that included their most recent title runs. Hailed by many as a hero for the club, Klopp led Dortmund to two consecutive Bundesliga titles in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, adding a 5-2 victory over rivals Bayern Munich in the 2012 DFB-Pokal Final to secure the club’s first-ever domestic double.
Klopp’s 2010-11 squad secured Dortmund’s first title in nearly a decade and became the youngest group ever to win the title. Klopp’s 2011-12 squad set two more records, a 28-league match unbeaten run and an 81-point season, which Bayern broke the following season.
Klopp left the Black and Yellow in 2015 before accepting an offer to manage Dortmund’s English sister-club, Liverpool. No stranger to setting records, Klopp led Liverpool to its most prolific season in club history, finishing the 2018-19 season with one loss (Manchester City) and 97 points. Despite their most successful season in club history and the third most successful season in league history, Klopp’s Reds finished as Premier League runners-up behind Manchester City.
Determined to have something to show for their success, Liverpool and Klopp set their sights on the UEFA Champions League, another title that previously eluded Klopp’s grasp. Prior to 2019, Klopp made it to two UEFA Champions League Finals. Klopp’s 2012-13 Dortmund squad, which had miraculously escaped the competition’s group of death without a loss, finished as runners-up behind Bayern Munich. Klopp’s 2017-18 Reds also fell short, finishing as runners-up behind Real Madrid.
Klopp’s third and most recent trip to the competition’s final stage came after a sensational 4-0 second-leg victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals, a victory that overcame a 3-0 first-leg deficit. A second-minute PK from Mo Salah, accompanied by an additional goal from Divock Origi in the closing minutes, solidified a victory for the Reds over Tottenham Hotspur, securing Klopp’s first Champions League title.
Given Klopp’s tremendous contributions in his time with the Black and Yellow and his recent success at Liverpool, Dortmund fans may be both excited and nervous about their club’s pending fixture with Klopp’s lethal Liverpool squad. A frustrating collapse near the season’s end, practically gifting Bayern the title, overshadows Dortmund’s otherwise-successful season. The Black and Yellow looked poised to take the crown heading into January, but uncharacteristically poor performances down the stretch, highlighted by a gut-wrenching 4-2 loss to Revierderby rivals Schalke, left the title-hopefuls settling for second place while their rivals from Munich celebrated.
Dortmund have faced Liverpool twice since Klopp took over, drawing once and losing the other match. But glimpses of greatness from the German club during their most recent campaign, combined with the brilliant off-season acquisitions of Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and Nico Schulz, suggest the Black and Yellow remain focused on the future. Their July 19 fixture with Liverpool provides a great opportunity for Dortmund to test themselves against one of Europe’s most prolific squads, albeit in a summer friendly, while giving the Dortmund faithful another chance to witness Klopp’s managerial mastermind in action. This time, however, fans of the Black and Yellow will be cheering against their former hero, which may feel as unusual as it feels unnerving, as they anxiously await Lucien Favre’s sophomore campaign as Dortmund’s manager.
A 2019 graduate from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Ryan is an aspiring sports writer with a profound passion for the Black and Yellow. On match day, Ryan can likely be seen draped in Dortmund’s colors, perennially pacing the living room of his Ann Arbor apartment. He dreams of one day watching a match from world football’s largest and most impressive standing terrace, The Yellow Wall.