Ahead of their Champions League quarter-final first leg, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane had this to say about his opposite number, Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp.
“Klopp is a great manager with a great CV and has done superbly at Liverpool. I don’t have to copy him because everyone has their way of going about things. I like to look and learn though and when I did my management course I analysed Klopp.“
So, it’s clear that Zidane was an avid admirer of the German as he went through his management training, but how have the two coaches performed in the Champions League for their respective clubs? We take a look.
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Zidane vs Klopp: UCL records compared
Between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, Klopp has taken charge in more Champions League games than his French counterpart, 78 to 49 to be precise. Across those games, however, it’s Zidane who has the better record in almost all aspects.
The win ratios sit as 54% for Klopp (42/78) against 63% for Zidane (31/49) and along the way Real Madrid have also managed to score 2.3 goals per UCL game, compared to 2.0 for the German’s two teams. Below is a summary of the records of these two managers in the competition (brought to you by SofaScore) and clearly the key tally is how many times they have lifted this special trophy. Zizou’s three back-to-backs is mightily impressive, but there is no doubt that Klopp has ambitions to add to his own collection.
Their only head-to-head was in the 2018 final, where Los Blancos came out on top 3-1. And there are a lot of similarities between those sides and the ones facing up tonight.
Klopp vs Real Madrid
Out of interest, although Zidane hasn’t managed another side against Liverpool – due to him thus far only having coached Madrid – Klopp has had previous encounters with the Spanish giants. As Borussia Dortmund boss, he came up against them six times.
In 2012/13 they met in the group stage, with the Germans winning 2-1 at home and managing a 2-2 draw in Spain and the teams faced each other again in the semi-finals, with Dortmund going through despite a 2-0 away second-leg defeat… they’d already secured a 4-1 victory at home, with Robert Lewandowski scoring all four of his side’s goals.
The following season Madrid got their revenge, putting out Klopp’s team in the quarter-finals, Isco scoring in a 3-0 first-leg win at the Santiago Bernabéu. That was enough although there were some nerves as the Bundesliga side won 2-0 in the return fixture.
‘Our team is built for these kind of games’ 👊
Read the transcript from the boss’ pre-match press conference…#RMALIV | #UCL
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 5, 2021
Real Madrid vs Liverpool: what have Zidane vs Klopp said?
As well as the above quote praising Klopp, Madrid’s French coach discussed his thoughts on the game.
“We’ve been underrated and I’m very confident what my team can achieve. The history of this club shows we can always battle back. We never give up or throw in the towel. We are still alive in both competitions [the league and Champions League]. There have been some lows this season but we still have to fight on.”
“Liverpool are a really complete team. Their front line is really good but in general they’re a solid outfit. They play well as a team. Both sides are missing players, but that always happens in football, but strength comes from the team.”
“It’s knockout football, a final, that’s going to be played over 180 minutes or more. We know what there is to come, but we’re just focused on tomorrow’s game – nothing else. It’s the most important game of the season because it’s the next one we have. We aren’t thinking about the past [the 2018 final].”
In return, Klopp said the following about the match.
“We have to chase Real Madrid tomorrow, who are in a really good moment. Very experienced. If someone knows how to win the Champions League, it is Real Madrid.”
“I’m not so determined to show the world how good we are, I want to show our fans that we are still fighting. We want to get whatever is possible out of this season. We have created a better base recently and we are still in the fight.”
“Our team is built for this kind of game. We face a football-playing side which helps and that’s why we have a chance. Everyone says Real Madrid is favourite and we have no problem with the role of challenger.”
“It helps massively if you work longer together [in defence]. The whole line-up played with big determination [at Arsenal], everyone felt responsibility. Tomorrow will be a proper test for that. This opponent asks for defensive organisation and we need to show we are on the right path.”