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Champions League Final 2019: Will it Finally Be Magnificent Seven for Klopp in Major Finals?

Jurgen Klopp
Credit: PAN998, Wikimedia Commons (Crop)

In his management career to date, Jurgen Klopp has achieved plenty.

He led Borussia Dortmund to a pair of Bundesliga titles, and is a two-time Champions League runner-up with the German outfit and present employer Liverpool. And of course he almost led the Reds to a first Premier League title, but for the brilliance of Manchester City.

When you look at Klopp’s CV, worryingly for him – and Liverpool fans – he appears to be often the bridesmaid, but rarely the bride.

And that will be a major concern ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Tottenham at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

That will be the manager’s eighth final appearance, of which he has lost the last six in a row.

So why does Jurgen Klopp have a habit of losing in big finals? Let’s take a look at this aberrations, all of which have come after he led Dortmund to victory in the German Cup final back in 2012.

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich (Champions League final, May 2013)

These two German giants met in a Champions League final at Wembley, with Klopp bullish about his side’s chances of getting their hands on the trophy.

Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring for Bayern, but Ilkay Gundogan equalised from the penalty spot shortly after. That was very much game on.

But Dortmund’s dream would end in tears as Arjen Robben pooped up to score a last minute winner for Bayern. This was the start of the rot for Klopp in major finals.

Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Bayern Munich (German Cup final, May 2014)

Bayern’s stranglehold on Dortmund and Klopp would continue.

This time it was Pep Guardiola – who has become something of a nemesis for the Liverpool manager – who masterminded the Munich outfit’s victory.

The contest was poised at 0-0 at the full time whistle, but extra time goals from Thomas Muller and that man Robben again ensured that Klopp succumbed to another final defeat.

Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Wolfsburg (German Cup Final, May 2015)

This was to be Klopp’s last game in charge of Dortmund, after he had already agreed to leave the club at the end of the season.

It was a tough season for the club, who were languishing at the bottom of the Bundesliga table in February before embarking on a remarkable comeback to finish seventh.

A cup run at least salvaged some positivity, but this fairytale had a nightmare ending as Dortmund were easily beaten on the day by Wolfsburg. They scored three times in 15 second half minutes to ultimately end the tie as a contest, with Kevin de Bruyne getting on the scoresheet.

Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City (League Cup Final, February 2016)

After a short sabbatical from the game, Klopp emerged as the new manager of Liverpool, and success was not long in coming.

He guided the Reds to a League Cup final at Wembley against Manchester City, and was keen to stamp his authority on English football at the earliest available opportunity.

However, his poor record in finals was to be extended.

The game ended in a 1-1 stalemate in normal time, and so a penalty shootout was required to find a winner.

In the end, messrs Lallana, Coutinho and Lucas saw their shots saved by Willy Caballero, and Klopp’s hunt for silverware continued.

Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla (Europa League Final, May 2016)

The 2015/16 campaign ended on a real dampener for Klopp, who after watching his side lose in the League Cup final would go on to experience further disappointment in the Europa League conclusion.

Daniel Sturridge put the Reds ahead against a Sevilla side managed by current Arsenal boss Unai Emery. Could this be the end of the manager’s hoodoo?

But Liverpool collapsed in the second half, and the scoreline could have been even wider as they completely fell apart.

Liverpool 1-3 Real Madrid (Champions League Final, May 2018)

When Mo Salah went down injured in the club’s biggest game of the season, you could have forgiven Klopp for feeling he is cursed in big finals.

And when Loris Karius inexplicably flapped at Gareth Bale’s shot which allowed Real to extend their lead, the German must have been left wondering whether he will ever get his hands on a trophy again.

Bale would also score a wonder goal to condemn Klopp to a sixth straight final defeat.

Can he make it a magnificent seven in Madrid on Saturday?