Football fans most of the world over could have been forgiven for thinking the biggest game of the week was Saturday’s El Clasico. It was a thrilling game, one that saw Real Madrid reverse their league fortunes—they currently sit third—while overcoming a red card and disallowed goal to beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
Those football fans won’t have got the memo from Germany, where it’s not El Clasico that’s the game of the week but rather the game that’s been dubbed El Kloppico by the German press. And it’s not just about a name. They’re so excited about Thursday’s meeting between Jürgen Klopp’s new and old club they’re planning six hours of pre- and post-match coverage on Sport1.
They’re so excited about Thursday’s match that they’re going to have a Klopp cam devoted to watching Jürgen for the entirety of the match from the moment he steps off the team bus through to his post-match interview. Rather like occasionally is done for Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo when Barcelona and Madrid meet. El Kloppico, it turns out, is rather a big deal.
"We’ll broadcast for six hours around the live match," Sport1 executive director Dirc Seemann said about plans for Thursday night’s Europa League tie. "During the match, we’ll offer users on sport1.de a Klopp live cam. It will be on him for 90 minutes, as a special for his homecoming. Once Jürgen gets to the Westfalenstadion in the team bus we’ll have our cameras on him."
Domestically, Dortmund currently sit five points back of leaders Bayern Munich with six games left to play, and while fans will still hope for a miracle finish, overtaking their domestic rivals seems unlikely. Liverpool, meanwhile, are nine points off the top four with eight games to play, making a mid-table finish this season all but certain.
Despite the presence of defending Europa League champions Sevilla, with Dortmund overcoming Tottenham and Liverpool handling Manchester United in the previous round, it’s likely that whichever of the two sides advances to semi-finals after this and next Thursday will be installed as at least narrow favourites to win the entire tournament.