VfB Stuttgart, Mainz and Hertha Berlin will lock wits with Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool in a series of July friendlies. - © imago
VfB Stuttgart, Mainz and Hertha Berlin will lock wits with Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool in a series of July friendlies. - © imago
bundesliga

VfB Stuttgart, Mainz and Hertha Berlin line up friendlies with Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool

Bundesliga trio VfB Stuttgart, Mainz and Hertha Berlin have added friendlies against Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool to their respective pre-season schedules.

Stuttgart take on Liverpool as part of a mini round-robin tournament in Saalfelden, Austria on 20 July. Mainz lock wits with their former player and coach in Grödig three days later, before Hertha face last season's fourth-placed English Premier League team in Innsbruck on 29 July.

A world-class coach made in the Bundesliga, Klopp has links to all three clubs.

The 54-year-old was born in Stuttgart, but made his name in football at Mainz. He spent a decade with the 05ers as a player, making 340 appearances, before taking over as head coach and securing a historic promotion to the Bundesliga at the fourth attempt in 2003/04.

After departing Mainz in 2008, paving the way for successors such as Chelsea's 2020/21 UEFA Champions League-winning boss Thomas Tuchel and current Mainz tactician Bo Svensson, Klopp went on to enjoy unprecedented success at the helm of Borussia Dortmund. Across seven years in charge, he got his hands on two Bundesliga titles in a row and the DFB Cup, whilst taking the Black-Yellows to the 2012/13 Champions League final.

Watch: Jürgen Klopp, made in the Bundesliga

Since joining Liverpool in 2015, infusing the side with ex-Bundesliga players including the likes of Joel Matip, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Roberto Firmino, Klopp has reached two further Champions League finals, lifting the trophy in 2018/19, and landed the Merseysiders their first ever English Premier League title.

Kevin-Prince Boateng - back at boyhood club Hertha for one final hurrah as a professional footballer - played under the now Liverpool coach at Dortmund in 2009.

"Had Dortmund qualified for Europe at the time, they would have bought me," Boateng recalled in an interview with Goal.

“Klopp called me personally and told me that they couldn't resolve the situation. I was very sad about that and the normally tough Prince cried. I felt that something big could happen in Dortmund, so I wanted to stay. But it wasn't meant to happen. For Klopp, I would even have gone to China!"

Now at Hertha Berlin, Kevin-Prince Boateng (l.) spent the second half of the 2008/09 season on loan at Klopp's (r.) Borussia Dortmund. - imago

Boateng's immediate objectives are to help steer Hertha back up the Bundesliga standings, following last season's dice with the drop. Stuttgart are gearing up for a second straight season in the German top flight, while Mainz have a first full campaign under Svensson - who worked under Klopp as a player - to look forward to.

The three Bundesliga clubs are in DFB Cup first-round action over the first weekend of August, before kicking off the new top-flight season a week later.