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UCL showdown: Will Jurgen Klopp laugh again after crying 5 times?

UCL showdown: Will Jurgen Klopp laugh again after crying 5 times?

On Saturday, May 26, at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Liverpool’s German tactician, Jürgen Norbert Klopp will be the cynosure of all eyes as the Premier League side tackle Real Madrid in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League final.

This will be the 63rd season of Europe's premier club football tournament organised by UEFA and the 26th season since it was renamed from the European Champion Clubs' Cup to the UEFA Champions League.

The German only won a major club title, DfB Pokal, while at former club, Borussia Dortmund in 2012, in his seven years as a manager.

However, Klopp has ensured that an English outfit will be vying for Champions league honours’ again six years after Chelsea became the fifth English team to claim the money-spinning UEFA Champions League silverware. in this report takes a look at previous cup finals that the German has been in charge as well as previews ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash.

1. Dateline: May 12, 2012, Germany

Competition: DfB Pokal

Venue: Olympiastadion in Berlin

Result: Borussia Dortmund 5–2 Bayern Munich

Klopp was at the helms of affair at Borussia Dortmund on May 12, 2012 as Die Borussen claimed the 2011–12 DFB-Pokal, the 62nd season of Germany's premier football cup competition.

Borussia Dortmund won the encounter 5–2 against Bayern Munich, to complete their first Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double.

2. Dateline: May 25, 2013, London, England

Competition: UEFA Champions League final

Venue: Wembley Stadium

Result: Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich

With Klopp on Borussia Dortmund’s bench they failed to shine during the first all-German UEFA Champions League final.

The 2012–13 UEFA Champions League final, also doubles as the 58th season of Europe's premier club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the 21st season since it was renamed from the European Champion Clubs' Cup to the UEFA Champions League.

Recalling the loss, the 50-year-old football tactician confessed in a recent interview that the result still hurts.

"I've never watched it back. It's too painful," he told the U.K Guardian.

3. Dateline: May 17, 2014, Germany

Competition: DfB Pokal

Venue: Olympiastadion, Berlin

Result: Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Bayern Munich

The 2014 DFB-Pokal Final was Dortmund's sixth final, and Klopp's first and only meeting with Pep Guardiola in a final.

A total of 76,197 spectators witnessed the game as Dortmund, who finished 19 points behind champions Bayern in the Bundesliga that season, kept pace with Guardiola's side for well over 100 minutes, until Robben and Thomas Muller scored in the second half of extra time. It was Lewandowski's last appearance for Dortmund before he joined Bayern on a free transfer that summer.

4. Dateline: May 30, 2015, Germany

Competition: DfB Pokal

Venue: Olympiastadion, Berlin

Result: Borussia Dortmund 1-3 VfL Wolfsburg

The game was Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp's final match, after seven years in charge of the team but it turned out a miserable outing for the outgoing manager.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Dortmund a lead, but then Wolfsburg scored three goals in the space of 16 first-half minutes and went on to win.

Reacting after the encounter, Klopp said: “Now there won't be a cup party, just a farewell party," the German said, even as he tried to hold back the tears. "My emotional state is now below average."

5. Dateline: February 28, 2016, England

Competition: 2016 Capital One Cup

Venue: Wembley Stadium, England

Result: Manchester City 3–1 Liverpool on penalties

The 2016 Capital One Cup final offered Klopp another chance to add to Liverpool’s silverware after replacing Brendan Rodgers.

Sadly, the German did not come to the party with his gang as the Citizens held their own leaving Klopp with a familiar feeling afterwards.

The Reds’ were in top mood going into extra time after Philippe Coutinho's 83rd-minute goal cancelled out Man City opener.

However, the game went on to be decided by penalties, as City shot stopper, Willy Caballero saved three Liverpool spot-kicks to win the cup for the Etihad outfit.

Speaking after the match, a bitter Klopp said: "We will strike back." Indeed, the Anfield outfit were back in winning ways after dispatching City 3-0 at home in a Premier League fixture three days later.

6. Dateline: May 18, 2016, Switzerland

Competition: 2016 Europa League

Venue: St. Jakob-Park Basel, Switzerland

Result: Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla

Klopp lost out again in his second cup final in the 2016 Europa League in his first season at Liverpool despite showing much promises.

The encounter was the final match of the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League, the 45th season of Europe's secondary club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the seventh season since it was renamed from the UEFA Cup to the UEFA Europa League.

Most Liverpool fans were optimistic that Klopp and his team were good enough for silverware after seeing off the duo of Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund on the road to the final in Basel.

In fact, the Reds were in charge going into the break thanks to Daniel Sturridge strike. However, Kevin Gameiro’s goal 17 seconds after the break as well as Coke’s brace was all that Sevilla needed to become the first team to win the UEFA Cup/Europa League three times in a row; it was their record fifth title overall.

A result, that left Klopp taking full responsibility during his post-match interview.

He said: “The first goal is not the problem, what happened then is the problem.

“We have to use this experience to be stronger, I’m sure we can use this in the right way,” the German noted, even as he applauded Liverpool fans’ incredible support to power his side to victory throughout the tournament.

Dateline: May 26, 2018, Ukraine

Competition: 2018 Champions League final

Venue: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev

Teams: Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

Referee: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)

After losing five major finals, including the Europa League against Sevilla with Liverpool two years ago, Klopp will be looking forward to rewrite the wrongs when his Liverpool gangs file out against a Real Madrid side that will be playing their fourth Champions League final in five years

Interestingly, since winning the German Cup in 2012, Klopp has lost in five finals, but the German dismissed his so-called cup finals curse... and says winning the Champions League final depends purely on form.

“It’s about putting in the best performance you possibly can on the day. That’s what you do and then you need a bit of luck in the crucial moments,” he said, even as he explains further.

“Nothing changes for me personally. I’ve lost a few finals and I’m exactly the same as I would be if I’d won them. And that’ll be the case again.”

Indeed, the battle line has been drawn and hopefully, on May 26, 2018, followers of the round leather game will find out if Klopp will finally break his Cup final slide. Time will definitely tell.

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