Much has been written recently about who could replace Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United; Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, David Moyes and even the relatively inexperienced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all been mentioned.
Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp certainly deserves to be added to that shortlist.
What "Kloppo" has done with Dortmund is astounding. He is a good age and has the necessary experience. At 45, he is the identical in years to Sir Alex when he arrived at Manchester United some 26 years ago.
He is also is the maker of champions, Dortmund are back-to-back German Bundesliga winners.
Rene Meulensteen, Manchester United’s technical coach, has been following the progress of Dortmund closely over the past couple of seasons. But he’s been watching their highly successful squad of players—eventually leading to the signing of Shinji Kagawa in the summer.
Could Manchester United's hierarchy have their eye on Dortmund's manager too?
Klopp began his management journey with the club that honed his playing career between 1989 and 2001. Mainz 05 had never competed in the Bundesliga until Klopp came on board and took them there. He also led them to their first UEFA Cup qualification in 2005-06, only going out to eventual winners Seville.
He took charge of Dortmund in 2008 and immediately galvanised their fortunes, leading them from a 16th-place Bundesliga finish before he took charge onto to sixth and fifth in subsequent seasons.
Klopp’s third season as manager brought them the Bundesliga title for the first time in 10 years—a decade that had been riddled with financial troubles and near bankruptcy for the German club.
The 2011-12 campaign got even better. Not only did Dortmund secure back-to-back German titles, but they did it in record-breaking style; the 81 points gained was the highest point total in a single season in Bundesliga history.
It didn’t stop there. Klopp then led them to the German Cup (DFB-Pokal)—the first double in Dortmund’s history.
It seems apparent that Klopp has now made the Champions League Dortmund’s first priority this season. They currently sit 14 points behind Bundesliga Leaders, Bayern Munich, but their performances on the biggest club stage of all have been superb.
Victories against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid and then against the billions of neo-rich, Manchester City, has proved their standing, and Klopp's side qualified as winners of what was commonly believed to be the group of death.
There will be a lot of teams hoping to avoid them in the next round.
For the record, "Kloppo" did it all on a shoe-string budget. No benefaction or billionaire cash injections, just hard work, savvy investment and sound management.
Take a bow, Jurgen.