The Manchester City midfielder says he felt the full force of the now-Liverpool manager’s wrath when they worked together at Westfalenstadion
Ilkay Gundogan has recalled the blazing row he had with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund which ended with his old manager shouting: “Do whatever the f*ck you want to do!”.
Klopp, who enjoyed great success in charge at Dortmund between 2008 and 2015, signed Gundogan from Nurnberg in the summer of 2011, with the midfielder then quickly becoming a mainstay in his set-up.
The two men enjoyed a strong relationship as Dortmund challenged Bayern Munich’s domestic dominance and fought for success in the Champions League, but didn’t always see eye to eye on the training pitch.
Gundogan says he felt the full force of Klopp’s wrath midway through the 2012-13 campaign after he refused to sit out a session due to a hamstring issue.
“I once managed to make Jurgen Klopp angry. Like, really angry,” the Germany international, who currently plays for Manchester City, told the Players’ Tribune.
“It was in my second season at Dortmund. We were trailing in the Bundesliga, but we had a shot at the Champions League. The staff had this rule that if you felt bad before a training session, you had to report it to the team doctor. That way we would avoid injuries, and Jurgen would know that you might not be able to train.
“So one morning I woke up and felt my hamstring a bit. Did I have a muscle problem, or was I just tired? I couldn’t tell. I probably should have texted the doctor. But I thought, ‘It’s probably gonna be alright’.
“Like always, I came to the training ground an hour before the session started. And just to be sure, I asked the doctor to take a look at my hamstring.”
Gundogan insisted he was fine to train, but the doctor was adamant that no risks could be taken and that Klopp needed to be informed. And that, says Gundogan, is when Klopp blew his top.
“Jurgen came in and he was not happy. I was trying to find a way out of it, even though I knew I was wrong. Jurgen kept saying that we couldn’t take any risks. I kept saying that I could train.
“And then he snapped. You know when he gets these intense eyes and grits his teeth?
“He gave me that look and shouted, ‘DO WHATEVER THE F*** YOU WANT TO DO!’ Then he slammed the door behind him.”
How was the situation resolved?
Gundogan went on to reveal that Klopp put an arm around him after he had calmed down and taught him a valuable lesson about the importance of open and honest communication.
“About half an hour later, I put my boots on and walked on to the pitch. Jurgen came up next to me,” the 30-year-old added. “I was expecting a lecture, but he put his arm around me.
“He said, ‘My friend, do you know why I was so angry? I just care about you. And I don’t want you to get injured.’ Then he gave me a big hug.
“I was shocked. We had had this fight, and now he was talking to me the way a father might talk to his son.
“Jurgen taught me a lesson that day: Always try to be honest. Both with others and yourself.”
What did Gundogan and Klopp achieve together at Dortmund?
Gundogan arrived at Westfalenstadion after Klopp had guided Dortmund to their first Bundesliga title in nine years, and helped them retain the crown during his first full campaign.
BVB also won the DFB-Pokal in 2011-12 to complete a domestic double, and built on that platform to secure the DFB-Super Cup and reach the Champions League final the following season.
Dortmund suffered a painful defeat in the 2013 European showpiece to Bayern, with Klopp leaving two years later before taking up the top job at Liverpool and Gundogan moving to Manchester in 2016.