Blogs & Opinion


Jurgen Klopp inspiring Borussia Dortmund to Champions League final, says Jeff

Jeff Stelling - Jeff Stelling Posted 25th April 2013 view comments

Is the era of Spanish domination over? It looks that way if this week's Champions League results are anything to go by.

It was painfully clear that both Barcelona and Real Madrid are over-reliant on one player as they were routed at the hands of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, respectively.

Dortmund's Piszczek, Reus, Hummels and Gundogan interact with the fans

Dortmund's Piszczek, Reus, Hummels and Gundogan interact with the fans

The atmosphere at the utterly eye-catching Westfalenstadion was fantastic; it's virtually compulsory to wear a Dortmund shirt to get in, which is hardly surprising as the whole city is awash with Dortmund fans.

A couple of weeks ago Karl-Heinz Riedle said Robert Lewandowski is the best centre-forward in Europe and he's now shown that's probably right.

A couple of weeks ago Karl-Heinz Riedle said Robert Lewandowski is the best centre-forward in Europe and he's now shown that's probably right.

Jeff Stelling
Quotes of the week

In some respects he plays in the manner of an old-fashioned centre-forward, in that he can hold the ball up, head it and he's strong. But he's also got a wonderfully deft touch on the ground.

Although he's probably not going to be at Dortmund for much longer, having shelled out just £3.9m for him they've certainly got value for money.

Exceptional

Like Bayern, Dortmund have a German backbone to their team in the sense that most of the players are of that nationality - and maybe that's something Spanish and English clubs can take a look at.

Roman Weidenfeller didn't have too much to do but made a couple of really important saves, while I thought the Serb Neven Subotic was outstanding at the back.

In midfield Ilkay Gundogan was exceptional at doing the 'dirty' jobs, getting the ball and delivering it to his side's four-pronged attack.

Marco Reus and Jakub Blaszczykowski caused mayhem in the Real defence when they ran directly at them; the visitors didn't know which way to turn - they were in a spin from the word go.

Admiration

Dortmund's average crowd is over 80,000 for a league game - that makes it the biggest in Europe, surpassing Manchester United by around 5,000.

The fans can relate to the club but it seems that the players can relate to the fans as well. The way the two interacted after the final whistle was fantastic.

It is a two-way street - a mutual admiration society - and you can't say that about every club, including many in this country. There is a mutual respect at Dortmund rather than some token applause from the players or, worse still, a relationship that borders on the contemptuous.

Not only are Dortmund a well-run club, but their scouting system is sensational. A host of their players have come through their academy. How many Premier League clubs can you say that about? The answer is hardly any - certainly not on Dortmund's level, anyway.

Passionate

As for the manager, Jurgen Klopp, he's different class - even if his world is ever-so-slightly wacky!

He proved his worth at half-time after Dortmund, clearly aggrieved they weren't awarded a penalty that would have put them 2-0, made a horrendous mistake at the back and went in level at 1-1.

Klopp has that something about him and lifted their spirits; you can see how passionate he is about the club and he's obviously a fabulous motivator and tactician.

In short, he looks like he's got the lot and it's a massive bonus for world football that he's now at a club that is in the spotlight as well. He claims not to enjoy the 'celebrity' that comes with the job, but I'm not sure I quite believe him!

Geoff Shreeves was only able to ask him one question after the match last night because we were just about to come off the air and two minutes later he was still going, which was terrific!

Frailties

Naturally, thoughts are already turning towards next week's return fixtures.

You can never rule out anything with Barcelona but they look flat at the moment and Lionel Messi still doesn't look fit.

If they scored an early goal and were able to get another one before half-time, then who knows? But it's hard to see that happening.

With their defensive frailties - and the same thing applies to Madrid - I can't see Dortmund or Bayern failing to score in their respective second legs.

That would seem to make the Spanish sides' tasks as near-hopeless as things can be. I think we are looking at an all-German final at Wembley next month.

Jeff's Gem of the Week

Accrington have struggled all season long so to go to Bristol Rovers in their hour of need and win to all but ensure that the far North West outpost survives in the Football League was exceptional, particularly as Rovers have had a fantastic run under John Ward. As one of Accrington's most passionate fans, Bumble, would say 'Start the Car!' I'm pleased for him, James Beattie and Accrington as a whole.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Wins on the road for Arsenal, Chelsea and City? See who Paul Merson fancies this weekend....

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League preview

Chelsea will look to extend their Premier League lead at Sunderland before their two nearest challengers meet the next day.

Van Gaal wants ruthless United

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has called on his side to show its ruthless streak ahead of the match against Hull.

Merson's predictions

Wins on the road for Arsenal, Chelsea and City? See who Paul Merson fancies this weekend.

Home comforts for Moyes

David Moyes enjoyed a dream home debut in charge of Real Sociedad as a Carlos Vela hat-trick downed Elche 3-0 at Anoeta.

Rodgers: Reds at turning point

Brendan Rodgers has conceded he might be "favourite to get the sack", but says Liverpool have reached a turning point.

Features

How can Premier League teams stop Chelsea this season?

How can Premier League teams stop Chelsea this season?

Chelsea fell just short of Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League title race last season but they’re a different proposition now, Jonathan Wilson told Sky Sports News.

Premier League: Diego Costa has been so clinical for Chelsea this season it has elevated them to another level

Premier League: Diego Costa has been so clinical for Chelsea this season it has elevated them to another level

Having attended Stamford Bridge with a West Brom supporter last weekend, it was curious to hear him enthuse about the chance to see Diego Costa in the flesh.

Sky Bet Championship: Arsenal target Tyrone Mings is in fine form for Ipswich Town and is determined to improve

Sky Bet Championship: Arsenal target Tyrone Mings is in fine form for Ipswich Town and is determined to improve

Tyrone Mings isn’t your average footballer. In fact, there are times when the Ipswich defender seems to be on a one-man mission to confound the assumptions surrounding his profession.