The Premier League’s two German managers come face-to-face on Tuesday when David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town host Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool at the John Smith’s Stadium — and the pair share much more than nationality.
Klopp and Wagner enjoy a friendship dating back to their time playing at Mainz 05 in Germany’s second tier and indeed Wagner was chosen by Klopp as the best man for his wedding.
Not surprisingly, when in late 2015, Wagner had the opportunity to leave his coaching job with Borussia Dortmund’s second team, he called Klopp, who just a few weeks earlier had joined Liverpool, and asked him for his advice.
The response from Klopp was to the point: “Just do it”.
Wagner took the advice and last year led the Yorkshire club to promotion to the Premier League. In their first season in the top flight since 1972, his side are holding their own in 14th place.
Sat in his small, modest office, amidst the noise of the construction work still going on at Huddersfield’s training centre, Wagner laughs when he was asked whether Klopp had given him any insight into what awaited him at the club.
“No! He had no knowledge. He knew nothing about Huddersfield And more or less nothing about the Championship,” he told Reuters in an interview.
What Klopp had sensed was that after four years coaching Dortmund’s reserve squad, in the German third-tier, Wagner needed a new challenge and that England would be ideal for him.
“He knew more or less the circumstance that I was in Dortmund,” Wagner says. “I’m also sure that he’d seen after he was here a month that there is emotion in England in football. So he said ‘if you if you have the chance — do it, try it.’
“What I do know now, after nearly two and a half years in this job, I can say for sure it was one of my best work decisions I made in my life.”
– indianexpress –