Mario Gotze was central to everything amazing about Klopp’s Dortmund side in 2013.
The prodigious 20-year-old was on the verge of a Champions League final and seemed to represent everything great about Klopp’s team-building talents.
Klopp’s men had scored two goals in added time of the second leg to beat Malaga in the quarters, then beat Madrid 4-1 at home in the semis.
And then the worst happened.
“I had one day of happiness [after Madrid]” reflected Klopp. “And then somebody thought ‘enough, go back down on the floor.'” (via Echo).
The boss met Michael Zorc, Dortmund’s sporting director, at the training ground the following morning.
“He looked like someone had died he recalled.
He said, ‘I have to tell you something’.”
Bayern had activated Gotze’s EUR 37 million release fee. He would move there after the Champions League final, against Munich.
“I spoke to six or seven Dortmund players who were damaged in the heart,” continued Klopp.
“They thought they were not good enough. And they wanted to win together. That’s the reason it hurt them so much. But Bayern told Mario: ‘It’s now or never.'”
“I told him they will come next year. They will come in two years, and then three years. But he’s 20 and he thought: ‘I must go’.
“It was like a heart attack.”
Dortmund went on to lose the final 2-1 against Bayern. Robben scored a 89th minute winner.