Dortmund - Jurgen Klopp may have accepted that FC Bayern Munich are the team to beat in the Bundesliga this season, but the Borussia Dortmund head coach insists his side retain the ability to compete with and beat the all-conquering Bavarians.
Drawing on experience
Speaking to the Welt am Sonntag, the 46-year-old evoked the spirit of Robin Hood as he explained his side's remit for the season. “We have a bow and arrow, and if we aim exactly right, we can strike. It feels like Bayern have a bazooka, so the chances of them striking are much higher. But still, that was how Robin Hood succeeded.”
Klopp used a similar analogy after Dortmund’s 4-1 win at home to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg in April, and it is on such experiences that he wants his side to build. “You can’t take anything away from what Bayern did last season. We won nothing last year, but perhaps there’s a strength we can take from that,” said the former 1. FSV Mainz coach.
“Our target has to be to improve. Of course we’ll miss Mario Götze - no team on the planet wouldn’t. But we still conceded a lot of goals last season, even with Mario in the side. That’s one area where we can definitely get better.”
Excited by Guardiola
Götze’s transfer to Bayern was confirmed in April, and while Klopp confirmed that another of his star men - Robert Lewandowski - “will move to Bayern next summer”, he insisted that he is forming his battle plan with the Polish striker in mind. “Up to a point, we were ready to talk [to Bayern]. But now that's in the past and so we want to plan for the year with a quality player like Robert.”
Competing with the Bavarians, now coached by Pep Guardiola, is a fight Klopp appears to be looking forward to. “The way he [Guardiola] had his team playing in Barcelona was simply fantastic and he's a real role model. Now he’s at a new club and the first impression is that everything fits. In the past if you wanted to become a great coach you went abroad. Now someone like Guardiola has come to Germany.”
New boys arrived
For now though, Klopp's attention is on firmly on his own star-stacked ensemble, which was bolstered by the arrivals of Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski, two late returnees from their summer break following international duty with Poland. Furthermore, the tactician was able to welcome new signings Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for their first training session with the club.
The two players were introduced to their team-mates and presented to the fans on Saturday evening (6 June), meaning that apart from goalkeeper Mitch Langerak, the entire squad is now back for pre-season and ready to begin preparations for the first game of the campaign, a DFB Cup clash against SV Wilhelmshaven on 3 August.