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Champions League final: Jürgen Klopp’s plea for peace

Jürgen Klopp hopped elatedly onto the podium and flashed his widest toothpaste smile. Even the unwelcome déjà vu by FC Bayern Munich could not cloud the German Liverpool coach’s anticipation of the biggest game of an outstanding season so far. “It’s not the first time in my life that rumors about Bayern Munich have surfaced before a crucial game,” said Klopp.

Around 24 hours before the Champions League final against Real Madrid with Toni Kroos on Saturday (9 p.m. / ZDF and DAZN) in Paris, the coach also had to answer questions about the rumors about Sadio Mané and FC Bayern.

The 54-year-old was obviously reminded of 2013, when – one day before the Champions League semifinals with Borussia Dortmund against Real – Dortmund’s Mario Götze’s move to Bayern Munich was leaked. The next day, BVB won 4-1 with four goals from Robert Lewandowski. Maybe that’s why Klopp was unimpressed on Friday.

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“I can’t take care of that. This is the wrong moment. We’re all focused on the game,” he said. “But I have no worries. It doesn’t matter where Sadio plays next year, he’ll be a great player.” When asked by a journalist from Mané’s home country whether Mané had a good chance of being named world footballer if he won the final, Klopp answered in a good mood. “Experience shows that if you want to win the election, you either have to be Ronaldo or Messi. Or win the Champions League final. So that would increase the chances.”

Mood?  fine.  Jurgen Klopp at the press conference

Mood? fine. Jurgen Klopp at the press conference

Quelle: Liverpool FC via Getty Images/Andrew Powell

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The discussions about the lawn could not harm Klopp either. It had been relocated the day before the game, which the coach described as “an interesting idea”. “But please don’t make the story that Klopp complains about the lawn,” he said: “That doesn’t cloud my anticipation by one percent. I would also play on concrete. It is important that both have the same prerequisites.”

“We’re playing this final for everyone”

Only at the end of his press conference did Klopp briefly think. He has not yet dealt with the fact that the final was moved from St. Petersburg to Paris months ago. Then he began to answer softly and slowly. And escalated into a plea for peace.

“I’m glad the game is here for 1000 reasons. The war goes on and we always think about it. The fact that the game is still taking place, but not in St. Petersburg, is exactly the right sign to give to Russia,” he said. “Life goes on, even if you want to destroy it. We play this final for all people. Not only, but also for those in Ukraine.”

Two mentality monsters on the lawn

Klopp allowed this special thought, otherwise there was full focus on the game. That will be necessary, because not only will the two best teams in Europe meet this season, but above all the two with the strongest mentality. “I love it when Jürgen Klopp says that his players are “mental monsters”, says Xabi Alonso (40), who not only played for Bayern Munich but for both finalists: “But in the final Liverpool have to show great mentality. Because Real Madrid – these are the other mentality monsters.”

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The Spaniards have proven that several times recently. Klopp was also deeply impressed by how Real turned the game around, first against Paris Saint-Germain, then against defending champions FC Chelsea and especially in the semifinals against Manchester City with two goals in added time. “If you take the last two minutes of every Real game, they’re unbeatable,” said Klopp, who is the first German coach to be in the final of the premier class for the fourth time: “Fortunately, there are still 88 minutes before that. And we’re not in the final by magic either. We deserve it too.”

The final is also a duel between coach greats: Jürgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti

The final is also a duel between coach greats: Jürgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti

Quelle: Getty Images

Klopp brought the term “mentality monster” into play in Spain at the beginning of May. After reaching the final at Villarreal, he once again raved about the attitude of his players and tried to translate. With “mentalidad monstruoso” he managed tolerably. A day later, Real showed what it means against City.

Klopp’s journey through a final trauma

The royals go into the final with a lot of self-confidence. “Personally, I can only feel anticipation because we only have positive thoughts,” said Kroos, who has already won the 73.5 centimeter high and 7.5 kilogram handle pot once with Bayern and three times with Real. David Alaba, who won it twice with Munich and moved to Madrid in the summer, made it clear in the “kicker”: “We are Real Madrid. With this self-confidence we drive to Paris. We are a team that can always fight back, that never gives up.”

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But the Reds are brave too. 13 players were present in the 2019 triumph against Tottenham. And Klopp has long since discarded his final trauma of six lost finals in various competitions. “It’s good that I don’t have to talk about the six defeats anymore,” he said: “But that’s my story. This trip was important to me. You have to learn that there is only one winner. Maybe my lesson was a bit harder.” Thanks to great mentality, he passed it.

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