Greatness can be measured in many ways however greatness as a manager of a football team can only be measured one way, in victories.
When Borussia Dortmund coach, Jürgen Klopp meets Bayern Munich legend, Jupp Heynckes this Saturday at Wembley Stadium, greatness will be bestowed on the winner.
Many would argue that Heynckes has already attained that status as both a trainer and player but for some reason the Bayern manager has always struggled for acceptance. An example of that would be winning the Champions League in 1998 for Real Madrid.
The Spanish club had endured a 35-year wait to reclaim Europe’s greatest prize however one week after guiding the team to victory over Juventus, Heynckes was fired…that is some thanks!
Heynckes who will retire after this final match is keenly aware that to cement himself alongside the Kaiser, Franz Beckenbuaer, as a true icon in German football, Bayern must bring home the trophy. After two near misses in the last three years, anything else would be considered failure.
Klopp on the other hand was nothing more than a journeyman footballer representing Mainz 05 for his entire career. A striker, turned defender, he never tasted the glory that Heynckes so greedily supped upon.
A thoughtful man with a diploma in sports science, Klopp has had to earn his success the normal way…through hard work.
Dortmund is only the second club he has coached after seven years with Mainz and despite a slow start to his time in Dortmund he has found the perfect recipe in the heart of Germany and this led to back-to-back Bundesliga titles.
Perhaps more impressively for the Dortmund faithful, he has found a way to compete and beat Bayern with stunning regularity. His record against the Bavarian giants is outstanding and it began during his first season as he beat the aristocrats in the German Cup.
Winning the clubs second Champions League title would catapult Klopp into the realm of greatness, which, while tough on Heynckes would be richly deserved. Klopp has turned a team of underachievers into the darlings of Europe.
Greatness awaits the victor.