Berlin: Jurgen Klopp announced on Wednesday that he will stand down as Borussia Dortmund coach at the end of the season after seven years in charge and two German league titles.
The 47-year-old had a contract until 2018, but asked to be released early after a poor series of league results left Dortmund bottom of the table in February before climbing to their current position of tenth. Dortmund have already said there will be no quick announcement concerning his successor as the hunt begins for a new head coach.
"I always said in that moment where I believe I am not the perfect coach anymore for this extraordinary club, I will say so," Klopp told a press conference. He added: "I believe this is the right decision at the right time. "I have not had any contact with any other clubs, nor have I any plans to take a year off.
"I just wanted to make my decision known now so that the club can plan for the future. "I chose this time to announce it, because in the last few years, some player decisions were made late and there was no time to react," he added in reference to Mario Goetze's shock departure to Bayern Munich in April 2013. Klopp earned his place in Dortmund folklore by becoming the first coach in Borussia's history to win the german double of domestic league and cup titles in 2012, when they trashed Bayern 5-2 in the Berlin cup final.
'Still work to do'
He steered Dortmund to the 2013 Champions League final, when they lost 2-1 at Wembley to Bayern, having won the 2011 and 2012 German league titles. Klopp turned Dortmund from a mid-table side on his arrival into Bundesliga champions. In his first season they finished sixth, then fifth in 2009/10 before winning the league title for the next two years as they briefly usurped Bayern as Germany's top club.
Klopp forged the careers of several Dortmund stars including current Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, who left Borussia last season, as well as Germany's World Cup winners Mats Hummels, Mario Goetze and Kevin Grosskreutz. He revealed he had not told the team before the press conference and said his goal for his six last remaining league matches is to finish as high up the table as possible.
"We still have a lot of work to do now. This is a decision for next season and we'll concentrate on finishing this season now," said Klopp. "I had no problems with any of the players, but I believe Borussia Dortmund needs a change. "The club deserves to fulfil it's potential again without constantly being reminded of it's successful past."
'Certainty over speed'
During the press conference the club announced they will not be rushed into naming his replacement. "Certainty over speed, it's important to get the right person," said Dortmund chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke. "It's been very difficult news to take. We've had a special relationship and Jurgen will always be remembered by the club."
Klopp's final home match on May 23 is set to be an emotional occasion and Dortmund's director of sport Michael Zorc was already in sentimental spirits. "I think we wrote a modern fairytale in the last years with you as the key figure, Jurgen," said Zorc, who was involved in bringing Klopp to Dortmund from Mainz. "Everyone at Borussia Dortmund, especially the players, should give you the sending off you deserve in the next weeks."