Jurgen Klopp has praised Pep Guardiola’s impact at Barcelona, but suggests that he will not find it so easy at Bayern Munich next season.
The Borussia Dortmund Coach is anticipating facing up to the former Camp Nou Coach from next season, as he has reached an agreement to replace Jupp Heynckes at the Allianz Arena from July.
Whilst in awe of his work at Barcelona, which included a record 14 titles in four years, Klopp explained to El Pais this week that the success was also down to a number of other elements, beyond Guardiola’s impact.
“Most impressive is how Barca play in attack. Messi scores and shouts for joy as if it is the first time. Xavi gets every ball like it were the first of his life,” the 45-year-old reflected of the Spanish League leaders.
“And you get the feeling that he would take the ball and caress it and just keep playing. The same with Iniesta. Busquets anticipates in midfield, responsible for the work.
“Puyol is incredible, a shocking hairstyle but a super player, a human being first, with a big heart. He breaks his elbow and is back playing in two weeks.
“With that motivation they fight for victory. That is a model. I read an interview with Xavi. They asked if he wanted to Coach and he said: ‘I’m am not in such a hurry, let me enjoy my playing days.’
“And you think: ‘You have played football every other day for 20 years and you still want to continue?’. That says it all about the game, but also about Xavi.
“They are the best in the world. And that was prompted by Pep, that is clear. He did an excellent job.
“But he will not always have players like that at every club and he knows it. Now he has to teach us how to do it when the players are somewhat less good.”
Klopp has been linked with succeeding Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid in the summer, but summised that his Dortmund outfit are more similar to their Catalan rivals.
“We’re closer to Barca for the pressure. For the high defence. Everyone wants to play like Barcelona, but it is not possible. Barca could not without Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. But their defensive plan is perfect.
“Maybe that’s also the problem for Mourinho – that although he has thought a lot more defensively, they have been years without signing a defender, because no-one is interested in who plays at the back.
“We want to be very, very fast with the mind and the legs. Everything at full speed. There is no defending against what you do quickly and accurately.”
Klopp was asked then why against Madrid in the group stages of the Champions League they ceded possession.
“That day we had the idea because we knew of their problems when dominating the ball. We knew where the passes would be sent, how to seek out Ronaldo.
“Our plan was to stop Xabi Alonso playing. Because if Alonso can play as he wants then you cannot defend against Madrid. And Gotze covered him.
“We knew that if our wingers moved much, the advantage was on our side against Ronaldo. If you stop Xabi, Pepe is compelled to have more of the ball and that makes a difference.”