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Liverpool vs Chelsea: Jurgen Klopp recent comment on Thomas Tuchel ahead of FA Cup final

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Liverpool vs Chelsea: Jurgen Klopp recent comment on Thomas Tuchel ahead of FA Cup final

Thomas Tuchel ready to step out of Jurgen Klopp’s shadow and finally silence the noise
Tuchel has been compared with Klopp throughout his career but now has the chance to carve a fresh path beginning with Chelsea’s visit to Liverpool on Thursday

Liverpool face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 14 after they defeated Tuchel’s side in the Carabao Cup final.

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“Thomas Tuchel’s biggest problem at Borussia Dortmund was he was not Jurgen Klopp,” a Germany legend offered during an off-the-record conversation to paint part of the backdrop for a book last year.

“It was the same problem he had at Mainz. And in our country, people will tell you taking PSG to a Champions League final is not equal to taking Dortmund there or Liverpool two times in two years.

“Even in Paris, Tuchel was in Klopp’s shadow.”

There is noise in this industry that is easy for the men in the dugout to drown out. The analysis without context, often wrapped up as a viral-ready social clip.

The criticism of a player with zero clue over the tactical instructions they’ve been tasked with carrying out. The obsession with a Plan B whenever victory, often talked about as a right rather than something that needs to be constantly earned, is not secured.

But there is also the noise that is hard to silence, especially when it emanates from senior figures you’ve worked with and repeats like a scratched record.

For over a decade, from the moment he walked into a Mainz that had been shaped by Klopp, Tuchel has been juxtaposed with the man six years his senior.

The club with a lowly budget bordering the Rhine River has never been more successful than under his charge.

They participated in the Europa League twice. Only Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen bettered the points’ total amassed during Tuchel’s tenure.

Yet it is the days under ‘Kloppo’ Mainz most pine for, even though it included painful chapters. There was the agony of missing out on promotion to the Bundesliga by a point and by a goal before they finally reached the promised land, only to suffer relegation in 2007.

Even after the drop, Christian Heidel, the club’s technical director, would enthuse about Klopp “electrifying a city.” He had a unique ability to transform sad moments into defiance to go again and go harder.

“The crowd started celebrating relegation like we’d won the championship after he said: ‘We’ll be back, no question!.’”

Tuchel, meanwhile, is remembered for being an exceptional trainer but “the biggest headache every day” as one long-standing Mainz employee put it.

“Tuchel was the best coach I have seen in sessions and planning for opponents, but Kloppo was the best man. He could mix his tactical brain with a human touch. To replace a coach is easy, to replace a great person is very difficult. Dortmund will agree.”

What Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund spell tells us about what his Chelsea will be
What Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund spell tells us about what his Chelsea will be
Around 30,000 people gathered at Gutenbergplatz for Klopp’s Mainz farewell and the testimony is that all were reduced to tears. When Tuchel departed Mainz and landed at Dortmund after a sabbatical there was a gigantic contrast. This despite Klopp motioning for him to be his successor.

Instead of mourning at Mainz, there was a word of caution for his new employers. This was later revealed by a BVB source in Süddeutsche Zeitung following Tuchel’s sacking at the Westfalenstadion.

“We were warned by Mainz that it would likely become difficult. We didn’t listen. For a year-and-a-half everything was great. Then everything was just as Mainz said it would be.”

At Dortmund, Tuchel fell out with the club’s chief scout at the time, Sven Mislintat and banned him from the training ground.

It is reported he sent an unflattering text about sporting director Michael Zorc, intended for his agent Oliver Meinking, to the subject matter himself.

There was a complete breakdown in the relationship with chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke and an overriding feeling that Tuchel saw the club solely through what it could do for his career. He never truly emotionally engaged with the people and they never truly took to him.

Well before the end of his time at the club, there was an annoying reminder of the hold Klopp still had on the place when Liverpool were pitted against BVB in the 2016 Europa League quarter-finals.

Several Dortmund players were still referring to him as their coach and not just privately but in interviews too.

Former BVB goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller explained why such instances were the case in an unauthorised biography of Tuchel, written by Daniel Meuren and Tobias Schachter, released in Germany last April.

“In a sporting sense, he is untouchable,” Weidenfeller said. “His training sessions were outstanding, he was a visionary. But on a human level, it didn’t work in some areas.”

That storyline reemerged a year ago. As Tuchel prepared for a return to Signal Iduna Park with Paris Saint-Germain to contest a Champions League last-16 tie, Watzke was asked whether it would be an emotional affair.

He tersely remarked: “It’s not Jurgen Klopp coming back.” That kind of noise that is hard to silence.

When Tuchel arrives at Anfield for the first time as Chelsea manager on Thursday, it will not dominate his thoughts that his career has largely been viewed through and shadowed by Klopp’s.

He will be obsessed with the objective of further enhancing his team’s chances of taking a Champions League spot, while hurting a debilitated Liverpool’s ambitions in that regard.

 

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