After seven years, in which he won two Bundesliga titles and a DFB Cup and took Dortmund to the final of the UEFA Champions League, Jürgen Klopp is set to depart the club at the end of the season. After the final whistle in his final Bundesliga game in charge of the Schwarz-Gelben the 47-year-old, visibly touched by the emotion of the occasion, paid tribute to the fans that have stood by him through thick and thin since he walked through the door in 2008. Here's what the enduringly popular tactician had to say...
“I’m not doing this live because in life you hopefully learn from your mistakes, so I thought I wouldn’t say goodbye like I did in Mainz a few years ago, where I was crying so much that my voice got stuck in my throat and nobody could understand what I wanted to say. Nevertheless, it was important to me to take the opportunity to say goodbye with all of you and to all of you.
"The seven years of our life together will come to an end next week, but this is the last time we’re here together at the Signal Iduna Park, which has been my home. It’s an extraordinary stadium, an extraordinary place but of course it’s only that extraordinary - not because it was constructed so superbly - but because all of you have made it what it is. I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve been here, not only here in the stadium but in general with you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
"My coaching team and I were fortunate enough to come here in 2008 and if ever there was a ‘win-win’ situation in football then this has been it. We’ve spent a long period in our lives together, experienced things together and gone through things together and those things stay in your memory in a positive way. I’m taking a huge sack of positive memories with me [loud cheering from the crowd] and I hope you are too.
"Those are the things you say thank you for. My thanks also go to [president] Reinhard Rauball, [CEO] Joachim Watzke, [sporting director] Michael Zorc and every single employee at Borussia Dortmund. Believe me, you can be proud that people like that are taking care of your club because every single person who works for BVB is also a fan of the club. I don’t know if that’s the case everywhere but it is here. They do everything wholeheartedly and they’re the best at what they do.
"It’s given me great pleasure working with you, and it’s been a huge honour to work for this club and to work for you. Now that time is over and as a little tip from someone who has already had to say farewell to a fantastic club before, namely Mainz, I can only advise you not to draw comparisons with me because comparisons diminish the wonderful memories there are and make a wonderful future all the more difficult. And this club will have a wonderful future, I’m absolutely sure of that.
"You’re all sensational and you’re getting a great coach. But we’ve still got a few plans because next week we’re in the DFB Cup final and ideally I’d really love to have a party in the city centre next Sunday. It’d be great to end things in such a way. I’ve had great fun here and again, many, many thanks for everything and we’ll see each other again, we definitely will.
See Klopp bidding the Signal Iduna Park faithful goodbye in this video, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel.