Klopp settling for survival

Klopp has given up hope of qualifying for the Champions League following an awful first half of the campaign for his side.

They head into the second half of the season in the bottom two and with 12 points to make up fourth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.

“I’m not at all interested (in the Champions League),” Klopp told Sport Bild magazine.

“As things stand right now, I would have no problem just staying up and then being able to train a lot next season.”

Klopp is also hopeful of keeping hold of his star players, even if Dortmund miss out on the Champions League. The likes of Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan have been tipped to leave if the club cannot offer top-level European football.

“If there are any of my players who would rather move somewhere else just because of one year without the Champions League, then clearly I’ve judged them completely wrong,” added Klopp, who is convinced his side will beat the drop.

“We’ve got 17 games and we will do it. Seventeen games is a hell of a lot.

“We’ve now been able to work on so many things that we had no time to go over even once in the summer.

“We weren’t able to work tactically one single time because the lads first had to get into decent shape.”

Former Bundesliga coach Klaus Toppmoller has warned Klopp not to underestimate Dortmund’s plight and reminded him to keep a cool head amid the pressure.

The 63-year-old found himself in a similar situation with Bayer Leverkusen after they finished second in the Bundesliga and lost in the finals of the DFB-Pokal and the Champions League in 2001.

Twelve months later they were almost relegated to the second division.

“You can certainly compare our situation with the one Dortmund are in now,” Toppmoller told sport1.de.

“I was always one who would speak my mind and the mass media then started to round up on me.

“Klopp just must not do anything stupid, even if the pressure were to grow on him.”

Toppmoller did not make it to the end of the 2002/03 season, losing his job, with Klaus Augenthaler ultimately saving Leverkusen from relegation.

“I really could not understand why I had been sacked in the slightest,” Toppmoller said. “And you can see the same kind of problems now with Dortmund.”

Nevertheless, Toppmoller still has every faith in Klopp’s ability, saying he is “no worse than last year, when he was in contention to become Europe’s coach of the year”.

He added: “He can’t have forgotten everything. He is still a very good coach.”

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