Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp 'really happy' to draw old club Dortmund
Jurgen Klopp has described Liverpool being drawn against his old club Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarterfinals as "a story only football can write."
After clinching aggregate victory over last-16 opponents Manchester United on Thursday, Liverpool manager Klopp had said he would be "silly" to want to face Dortmund next. The Germans were hugely impressive in seeing off Tottenham 5-1 on aggregate.
But Klopp told Liverpool's official website on Friday that he was "really happy," and would relish showing his new club his old stomping ground, where he won two Bundesliga titles, the German cup and two German Supercups as well as reaching the 2013 Champions League final in his seven years in charge.
"I am really happy with the draw," Klopp said. "Yesterday I said why should I wish [to get] the strongest team in the tournament, but obviously if you want to win the Europa League, and when you are in the quarterfinal, then you have to beat the strongest teams.
"It is better to play against them in two games than in only one game. I am really happy to introduce my new team to Dortmund. I am really happy to show the boys this wonderful stadium and a great city. It's a story only football can write."
Klopp has three season tickets at Dortmund and admits Signal Iduna Park is a special place to revisit -- but any reunions will have to wait until after the tie on April 7 and 14, and he said he will not allow himself to become the focus.
It was also a reminder, he said, that the Europa League was a prize worth winning.
"Two of the biggest clubs in the world meet each other in the Europa League, so everybody who thought a few months ago maybe it's not that interesting of a tournament, hopefully they've switched their minds in the last few weeks," Klopp said. "Going to Dortmund and playing in Dortmund is one of the best things you can do in football.
"I hate the hype around my person in these matches. I know about the business and all the circumstances, that's clear, but I don't like it to be honest.
"The game and the players, completely focused -- or as much focus as possible -- on all these guys. Then if somebody wants to talk to me after the game, I am available then.
"I was 18 years at Mainz [as player then manager] and then in my break, after seven years at Dortmund, I went for the first time to Mainz's stadium not as a coach, just to go there. There was always another manager and I thought 'I don't want to disturb.' I have a similar problem in Dortmund, to be honest."
But the Liverpool boss denied it was a daunting task as his side pursue their only chance of a trophy this season.
"Everybody knows our best games have been made against really strong sides, so we know how to play this," Klopp said. "We know how to handle it and we know a lot of Dortmund players -- not all, but 98 percent. So it's open and two games that I think the whole world will watch."
Meanwhile, Dortmund captain Mats Hummels described the two-leg quarterfinal with Liverpool as "a special draw," while his club's sporting director Michael Zorc said: "For our fans as well as the German and English media this is certainly a dream draw."
The German club's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke added: "Jurgen Klopp returns home now, and it will definitely be something very special for him. We were always convinced that we'd meet the Reds at some stage of this competition."
Tom is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. Follow him @writertombell.