A great deal of ink has been spilled over the years about Jurgen Klopp’s less-than-stellar record in finals. Even with his recent triumph in the Champions League final, it was just his second time lifting a trophy after a final, bookending 6 successive defeats.
This record often overlooks his record in the DFL Supercup, the Bundesliga version of England’s Community Shield. In Germany, as in England, it is seen as a bit of a glorified friendly. Nice if you win it, but not super important in the grand scheme of things.
However, it is still a chance to win something, and his record in the DFL Supercup isn’t too bad. Kloppo’s Dortmund side appeared in the Supercup, either as the league winners, league runners up for four consecutive seasons, from 2011-2014.
Dortmund lost in 2011 to local rival Schalke after penalties, and were defeated again in 2012 by a 2-1 scoreline to Bayern Munich.
But in 2013, Die Schwarzgelben struck back, running out 4-2 winners over Bayern, exacting some slight revenge for the 2-1 defeat in the Champions League final. And again, in 2014 Klopp’s charges won 2-0 over Bayern—a unexpected and early highpoint of the season, which saw Dortmund fighting relegation at one point, before finishing a distant seventh in the league.
For a manager who is “bad” at finals, it’s a better record than his reputation would suggest. And it might give us some insight into how important he sees these rare one-off finals.
Because of their league and Champions League finishes, the Reds get a crack at three of these less-prestigious trophies: the Community Shield against Manchester City, the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea, and the Club World Cup (two opponents to be determined).
Although Klopp doesn’t have experience in any of these competitions, it seems likely that he’ll go strong, both to win a shiny thing and gain small mental edge on his opponents.
There’s also the financial benefit, especially for winning the UEFA Super Cup, that comes into play. The prize money for winning the Super Cup (€3.5 million) is nearly as much as winning the FA Cup (£3.6 million), and far more than the paltry £100,000 for the League Cup.
Also, “World Champions” has a nice ring to it, if they can win the Club World Cup, which Liverpool will be favorites to do.
Of course, the sample size is small, but so too were his cup finals, which everyone was previously using to damn him with. Funny how few are talking about his record in finals since the last one.
Personally, I hope we take full advantage, and try to win them all. Now that we have a taste for winning things, I don’t want to stop. I’m sure Kloppo and his players feel the same way.