Former Borussia Dortmund director Thomas Doll has talked about the realisation he could be replaced by Jurgen Klopp in 2008, on the afternoon of the DFB-Pokal final.
The former German midfielder, who most recently coached Cypriot side APOEL, recalls his time in the club fondly.
The final against Bayern Munich might have added some shine to his tenure, but it was overshadowed by rumours circulating of Klopp’s imminent coming from Mainz.
“It isn’t pleasant to listen to something like that before this important match, but nobody from the team contacted me about it,” Doll told Target and SPOX.
“Aki Watzke (Dortmund’s CEO) and I just sat down after the season and determined a new start would be ideal for BVB.
“My focus is always on the here and now and you could see in the closing that the entire team was at the top.
“Unfortunately we lost 2-1 in extra time, otherwise it could have been a wonderful reward after all the bad games in the Bundesliga.”
“We had a couple of young players with great potential,” he said. “Mats Hummels for instance. Then, many wouldn’t have thought he could have such a worldwide career.
“I can still remember when we saw an Under-23 match from him Bayern before signing him.
“Herrmann Gerland [Bayern’s reservations trainer ] subsequently tested him in defensive midfield.
“He liked to place central defenders a little bit farther up from time to time since it is more uncommon for those players to stand with their backs to the opponent.
“Matt did a fantastic job, but he was just very young and just not so far along physically.
“So, it wasn’t easy for him, but he remained patient, and it has grown into among the best central defenders in the world. I take off my hat.”
Despite Doll’s time in the club being followed with a legitimate Dortmund golden age under Klopp, he sticks by his own accomplishments in helping to lay the foundations.
“I will stick with the positive,” Doll added.
“One should remember: When I arrived at Dortmund in March 2007, the club was near relegation.
“It was nearly done, internally there were doom and gloom. We had nine matches to get the work done and I am happy we did it.”