Klopp wary of emotions in return to Dortmund

LONDON • Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is more worried about former club Borussia Dortmund's on-pitch threat than any mixed emotions he will feel when facing them.

Klopp will go up against Dortmund in a two-legged Europa League quarter-final beginning next week, having left the German club at the end of last season following a richly successful seven-year spell.

It promises to be a unique occasion for the 48-year-old German, but with Dortmund second in the Bundesliga and Liverpool ninth in the Premier League, he is not thinking about sentiment.

"It's not going to be an inner battle between my old and my new love," Klopp said on Liverpool's website on Wednesday.

"It won't be a problem for me. Before I joined BVB, I had a good relationship with (former club) Mainz.

"We are all aware how incredibly difficult this draw is for us. The way Dortmund play commands enormous respect. But on a good day and when (we) put our plan into action, we have a chance.

"We always had a relatively good plan against teams who play football well. We will not rest anyone."

Dortmund crushed Liverpool's domestic rivals Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 on aggregate in the last 16, while Klopp's side overcame arch-rivals Manchester United 3-1.

Liverpool travel to Dortmund for the first leg of the quarter-final on April 7, with the return leg at Anfield a week later.

Marco Reus, who flourished under Klopp, told German newspaper Bild that the Dortmund players are looking forward to the reunion - and victory.

"We chuckled when we heard the news because it was clear the old coach will return home, but we directly said that it's not BVB versus Klopp, but rather Dortmund versus Liverpool," he said.

"We accept the draw. We're professional and hungry for success.

"Should we wane just a few percentage points then we'll be without a chance."

Before facing the Reds, however, Dortmund are keen to secure a place in Europe's elite club competition next season.

They can seal a Champions League berth with six Bundesliga games to spare by beating Werder Bremen tomorrow.

Klopp's successor Thomas Tuchel has enjoyed a stellar season in his first campaign in charge of Dortmund.

His team have gone unbeaten at their Signal Iduna Park home ground so far this year, winning 13 matches and drawing two in all competitions.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp wary of emotions in return to Dortmund'. Print Edition | Subscribe