Champions League news

Juergen Klopp: I like fighting football

November 4, 2013
By ESPN staff

Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp has underlined his admiration for "Sir Arsene Wenger" but prefers “heavy metal” football to the “silent song” of teams like Arsenal and Barcelona.

Arsene Wenger, Juergen Klopp
GettyImagesJuergen Klopp prefers 'English football' to Arsene Wenger's possession-based approach.

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Dortmund host Arsenal on Wednesday looking to take a major step towards qualification from their Champions League group, with the two sides tied with Napoli on six points after the first three games.

Klopp had spoken highly of Wenger prior to his side’s 2-1 success at the Emirates Stadium last month, and he has again praised the Frenchman at an English language media day ahead of the return match.

“He is really something,” he said. “I love him. He is Sir -- Sir Arsene Wenger for me.”

However, Klopp suggested he could be bored by the possession football employed by Arsenal and the Barcelona sides of Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

“I think he [Wenger] likes having the ball, playing football, passes,” he is quoted as saying in The Guardian. “It’s like an orchestra, but it’s a silent song, yeah? And I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud! I want to have this: ‘Booooom!’

“If Barcelona's team of the last four years were the first one that I saw play when I was four years of age -- with their serenity, winning 5-0, 6-0 -- I would have played tennis. Sorry, that is not enough for me. What I love is that there are some things you can do in football to allow each team to win most of the matches.

“It is not serenity football -- it is fighting football. That is what I like. What we call in German ‘English [football]’: rainy day, heavy pitch, everybody is dirty in the face and they go home and can't play football for the next four weeks. This is Borussia.

"When I watch Arsenal in the last 10 years, it is nearly perfect football, but we all know they didn't win a title. In Britain they say that they like Arsenal but they have to win something. Who wins the title? Chelsea, but with different football, I would say. This is the philosophy of Arsene Wenger. I love this but I cannot coach this because I am a different guy.

“You think many things are similar? I hope so in some moments, but there are big differences, too.”

He added in the Daily Telegraph that he welcomes attractive football but demands his team “still run 10km more than the opponents”, adding: “Watch me during the game. I celebrate when we press the ball, win a throw-in and I say: ‘Yesssss!’”

Despite building a Dortmund team in his own image, and recently penning a contract extension until 2018, Klopp -- who has been at the Westfalenstadion since 2008 -- appears to be considering expanding his horizons before too long.

“I have an interest in the whole world and it is not typical for my personality to spend 10 years in Dortmund because I can live anywhere,” the 46-year-old said. “So can my wife. We can grab the dog and go to the next city.”

It was reported that Chelsea and Manchester City were among the teams Klopp rejected in the summer, but the former Mainz boss denied that he had confirmed as much in a recent Sun interview. Even so, it appears he would not be tempted to take charge of a club with such enormous spending power.

“You want to be the team that beats the team with more money,” he said.

For one thing, he feels having a squad full of elite players can make a coach’s job more difficult.

“I’ve never thought about my dream team,” he said. “The dream team was the Harlem Globetrotters. For show it’s okay, but I don’t want those problems. Like when you have 25 super, super, super, super superstars and each morning you hope one is ill -- ‘Atish-oo!’ -- so you can tell them: ‘Sorry, you cannot play at the weekend’.”

Nonetheless, he would relish the chance to work with Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“I wouldn’t have any problem working with Ibrahimovic. We’d get on well. Crazy players love me. I don’t know why...”

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