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Borussia Dortmund CEO Anticipating "Two Special Games"

Hans-Joachim Watzke praised the culture and status of the two teams vying for a place in the Europa League semi-finals.

Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Liverpool versus Borussia Dortmund over two legs in European competition with a semi-final place for the winner. There's also the return of Jürgen Klopp after taking a sabbatical last summer to heighten the interest in the game, and while Klopp may not want to be the focus leading up to the game, he surely understands why given the seven years he spent at Signal Iduna Park.

His former CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, refused to dampen the hype surrounding the two legs, describing them as "two special games, because both teams are great, because they both represent pure footballing history" where "whoever will win over the two legs has a huge chance to make it to Basel." Two clubs. History of the pure footballing kind. One final. One victor.

It's going to be a wonderful challenge for Liverpool, one which Klopp won't take lightly whatsoever. One of Europe's most impressive sides this season, European football, a quarter-final, a trophy still in play, and Champions League qualification for the team that lifts the Europa League should be enough to focus the minds of players and staff accordingly.  Watzke warned Dortmund's official site that Liverpool will "give everything" to progress.

Liverpool will give everything in these two games, because it is the only realistic chance for them to still make it to the Champions League. Liverpool will not do us the favour of resting any of their players. We have to have a certain sharpness to our game, this is a real challenge and not hugs all round. You don't win games like that.

The anticipation and chatter surrounding the game is building up, and for Liverpool, a game like this is what the fans expect in April: a game where something is at stake. The aim is to spring a surprise in Germany and go into the second leg at Anfield with a chance of progressing. In the previous round, Tottenham Hotspur were all but knocked out after being dismantled 3-0 in the first leg.

Five points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga with six games to play, a DFB-Pokal semi-final later in the month against Hertha BSC, and a Europa League quarter-final against Liverpool is evidence of the fine work undertaken by Klopp's successor, Thomas Tuchel. Perhaps Klopp can do his old friends a favour by lessening their workload to help them to a domestic double.

Liverpool, however, have developed a taste for the grand occasion under Klopp. It's clear that Dortmund are favourites, but Klopp will be extremely familiar with the opposition on the pitch and in the dugout. Whatever happens, Liverpool's players will have another opportunity to display their European credentials after knocking out Manchester United.

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