Jurgen Klopp says his Borussia Dortmund team won’t be taking it easy against Arsenal despite securing qualification from Champions League Group D with two games to spare.
The German outfit have cruised to victory in all four European games this season, but have suffered a crisis run on the domestic front where three wins from 13 games has seen them drop into the relegation zone.
Struggling for confidence in the Bundesliga, coach Klopp made clear that he hopes his players use the latest clash at the Emirates as another stepping-stone towards consistency.
“We have pressure too. Not maybe in this competition, but we have a big target. We want to go through in first position.
“In Germany we have big pressure.In the last six games we played four very good halves and two very bad halves. Those two bad halves were enough to lose us those games. Tonight I cannot change the Bundesliga problem. Tonight is like a holiday for me. It is ‘only’ the Champions League. I have pressure though, of course I do. Everybody has pressure.
“It’s not my plan to relax. We will see what we will do here. We need each game to get more stability. We have to use this game for the Bundesliga. We need stability and that is our problem up to now. If we play well then it will help us in the Bundesliga.
“We don’t want to wait and see what [Arsenal] will do,” he continued. “We saw the game against Manchester United. We saw the first half and I think everyone in this room knows Arsenal were much better and made a real good game.
“That’s football but I could see in the first half that they were pretty strong if you let them be strong.”
Klopp has long been tipped as a coach with a future in England with Manchester United and Arsenal both mooted as possible destinations. Asked in his pre-game press conference about such speculation, he admitted that it wasn’t impossible, while stressing it’s not something he’s currently thinking about.
“I don’t think about my future in this moment. Not about my long [term] future.
“The only language I speak a little bit…you hearing it…is English. And so from my kind of coaching I need the language. The funny part of the language I can learn very fast.
“That’s all I said [about links with a move to England], but not now, not next year. I don’t know when. I don’t plan things like this.
“You ask me, ‘what will you do after Borussia Dortmund?’ And I said, ‘it’s possible.’
“If somebody called me then we can talk about it. And that’s all. I didn’t say, ‘I’m here on Monday.’
“Sometimes, timing is very important, in each part of life,” he responded when asked if any clubs had already contacted him.
Last year Dortmund did to us at the Emirates what a lot of teams have done recently. They took an early lead and just when Arsenal looked to be getting on top, snatched a late winner on the break. A repeat of that tonight would leave us with a nerve-jangling trip to Galatasaray where we’d still require a draw to secure progress to the knock-out rounds. It’s sure to be a tense evening.