Jurgen Klopp believes Real Madrid should be considered the favourites for their Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund.
The sides meet on Wednesday at Santiago Bernabeu in the quarter-final stage of the competition, having played last season in both the group stage and the semi-final.
Dortmund won 2-1 at home in the group and drew 2-2 at the Bernabeu, topping Group D by three points with Madrid second.
The Bundesliga side then claimed the semi-final 4-3 on aggregate with a 4-1 win at Signal Iduna and a 2-0 defeat in Spain.
Despite getting the better of their four meetings last season, Klopp has told Marca that Madrid are in the driving seat this year.
“Real Madrird are the favourites. With our budget and our injury list there is no doubt we are the underdog of the tie,” Klopp said, adding that Madrid have improved from 12 months ago.
“They have bought good players like Gareth Bale and Isco. They have tremendous strength in all areas and are a very complete team,” the Coach continued.
Klopp admitted that the return leg at the Bernabeu in last year’s semi-final was one of the greatest – and most stressful – moments of his career.
“The last 10 minutes of that game were of tremendous emotional intensity,” he said.
“What stress! We knew what to expect at the Bernabeu and until the final whistle we never felt we were [in the final].
“I will always remember that night. One final whistle was a special and unique moment.
“It’s always nice to play these games. These are special moments, especially when you get to this stage of the competition.”
Klopp revealed he was not disheartened by having to concede favourite status to Madrid, insisting that it’s really not what’s important.
“I always say we do not need to be the best team in the world, we just need to be able to beat the best team in the world in a direct contest,” the tactician went on.
“And BVB can beat the best. We’re going to take a chance and we can catch Madrid.”
Klopp confirmed he was wary of the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo, however, but declined to rate the Portuguese in comparison to his peers.
“Cristiano is a player of his own class and I think he’s a great guy, a great person, and he’s very ambitious,” Klopp said.
“As a player he is fantastic but I won’t compare him to anyone else. That’s a game for journalists.”
It has been speculated that Klopp could see Ronaldo and his Madrid teammates up close one day, from the Madrid bench.
Marca informed Klopp that he is a Coach the Madrid supporters would welcome to the club and he was pleased to be popular.
“Really? If so I’m very happy. It’s better to be liked than for people to think I’m stupid,” Klopp replied.
“I am as I am. I have my good and my bad.”