Jurgen Klopp confirms Dortmund exit, no sabbatical planned
Jurgen Klopp will step down as coach of Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season but does not plan to take a break, the 47-year-old told a news conference.
Klopp confirmed that he will leave the club with which he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, and reached the Champions League final in 2013.
He said that he has not stepped down in order to take a break from football, but neither has he got another job lined up.
"I have not planned a sabbatical, but I also have no contact to other clubs," he said at a news conference with sporting director Michael Zorc and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke. "No tactics involved. I am not tired.
"I have said that when I had the feeling that I was no longer the right coach for this extraordinary club, then I would say that. I have questioned myself all the time.
"And I have realised in the past few weeks and days that although I was not sure that I am no longer the right person, I could also not answer the question with 'Yes.'
"[Leaving] has nothing to do with our current sporting situation. We suffered from players announcing their departures too late in the past few years, and we were no longer able to react, and came under pressure.
"I did not want that pressure to mount. All three of us [Zorc and Watzke] made this decision. Aki Watzke and Michael Zorc will find a great solution for the club.
"I am not out of this world. I have already secured three season tickets. The club is bigger than us all. And always will be. The club will never forget, and I am thankful that I was allowed to be a part of it."
The news conference was unexpectedly announced on Wednesday shortly after German tabloid Bild had reported that Klopp had asked for his contract, which runs until 2018, to be cancelled at the end of the current season, with Watzke saying "security before speed" was important in finding a successor.
"We were about to go into one final talk before the report came," the CEO said. "Because of the report, we held that talk earlier today. It was only a question of time."
Dortmund have endured a poor season and are 10th in the Bundesliga table, six points below the Europa League qualification places. They were eliminated from the Champions League this term in the round of 16 by Juventus.
Klopp has been unable to stop Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, who pipped them to Champions League glory in 2013 and also beat them in the 2014 DFB-Pokal final, signing key players Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski from them over the past two seasons.
Dortmund's signings, such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan in 2013 for a club-record transfer fee of €27 million, Ciro Immobile, Adrian Ramos, and Kevin Kampl have struggled to impress this season.
Klopp said: "If I had stayed they would have needed to change a lot of things. And now that I leave many things can remain the same. As long as I am here, we will always be compared to our past successes. It's a fact that the club is incredibly important to me.
"And it's about the club making use of its potential without being blocked by its own past. That's why a main act had to leave. And that's me. That's the evil of the good deed, so to speak. We have written many incredible stories. It's only football, but it also means the world to many BVB fans."
He also vowed not to give up on his last dream, which is winning the DFB-Pokal again and "driving around the Borsigplatz one more time" in BVB's birth place, where the club parade their trophies.
"The club is bigger than us all, and always will be," Klopp said. "The club will never forget, and I am thankful that I was allowed to be a part of it," with Watzke, close to tears, telling the coach that the "eternal appreciation of this club and all its fans will be bestowed on you.
"The only comfort I have right now is that our friendship will continue."
Zorc added: "We've written a modern fairytale over the last seven years. And Jurgen has been the main act. It has been a wonderful time."
Klopp, who was appointed coach at the Westfalenstadion in 2008, has previously said he would be open to managing in the Premier League.
German tabloid Bild reports Dortmund have targeted former Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel as his successor.
Tuchel had been linked with the post at Hamburg, only for the side to appoint Bruno Labbadia on Wednesday.