Klopp vs Pep: Who's on top?

This weekend, two of the world's most respected coaches will go toe-to-toe when the Bundesliga’s top two collide. But how do they compare? Andrew Murray evaluates the managerial head-to-head dominating Germany...

Tactical nous

JK: An award-winning pundit of the national team on German TV since 2005, Klopp thrives on unpicking tactical puzzles. The confirmed 4-2-3-1 advocate’s back-three dalliance was ended after a loss to Schalke in the Ruhr derby early last season. Dortmund are one of the few sides to adopt a high-pressing strategy (Gegenpressing, as it's known in Germany) and make it work. Rating: 4/5
 
PG: One (hyphenated) word: tiki-taka. Born and bred in Barcelona’s 4-3-3 dream factory, Guardiola – ever the innovator – dabbled 
with a 3-4-3 in his final Nou Camp season with mixed success. Fixated on the cause and effect of tactical variation. Rating: 4/5

Transfer success

JK: Signed for €350,000 and sold abroad two years later at 4,800% profit: Shinji Kagawa is the ultimate bit of Klopp business. A couple of early signings didn’t cut it, but Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Lukasz Piszczek, Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski and Sven Bender are all Klopp buys. Rating: 4/5
 
PG: Surprisingly inconsistent. For every Dani Alves or Cesc Fabregas there have been costly mistakes like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Dmytro Chygrynskiy (bought for €25m and sold within 12 months). Prolific at promoting from within: Busquets, Pedro, Thiago – the list goes on. Rating: 3/5

Trophies

JK: Four major Dortmund honours – successive Bundesliga crowns, the DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup – plus two Bundesliga Manager of 
the Year awards. The double in 2011/12 was the club’s first, adding 
to a league record 28-game unbeaten streak. He couldn't quite become 
a legend by adding the Champions League last season but Dortmund stole plenty of hearts getting to the final at Wembley. Rating: 4/5
 
PG: Where do you start? Fourteen cups in four seasons – including all 
six competitions entered in 2009 – of tiki-taka magic to go with countless individual prizes for world’s best coach. Unprecedented. But his first assignment away from Barça will be a test. It's all started well enough, though – Bayern lead the way at the top of the Bundesliga once again, while Pep picked up his first trophy after Super Cup victory over Chelsea. Rating: 5/5

Intensity

JK: “I quickly realised I would have to work harder to make it in 
football than some other people,” is a motto the 46-year-old impresses on all those around him. A force of nature 
masquerading as football’s coolest headmaster. Rating: 5/5
 
PG: “If you think I’m soft because I’m only 37, you’re out of luck,” declared the saturnine Spaniard at his first Barça training session in 2008. Absorbed by minutiae from holistic preparation to the science of football, sometimes to his health’s detriment. Rating: 5/5

Media persona

JK: Fast-talking and affable, with rugged undertones. Underpinned 
by a trademark smile, Klopp is chatty and up for anything, 
including the occasional self-parody. The sort of manager 
you would love to play for, basically. Rating: 5/5
 
PG: Calm and collected, the occasional Jose Mourinho explosion aside. Like coaching hero Marcelo Bielsa, Guardiola doesn’t give one-on-one interviews, restricting appearances to press conferences. Will that continue in the face of Germany’s strict TV contracts? We've already seen him clad in lederhosen, followed by a camera crew for Oktoberfest... Rating: 4/5

Sartorial elegance

JK: A bespectacled fitness fanatic with an unruly beard and tousled hair, Klopp nails the sportswear look. Resembles an unkempt 
Jon Bon Jovi, especially while rocking the aviators at Die Schwarzgelben’s title celebrations in 2011. Rating: 3/5
 
PG: The hair may not be as jet black as it once was, but no manager pulls off the silver suit or cardigan-skinny tie combo better. 
His parents do run a clothes shop, where he met wife 
Cristina, after all. Cuts quite the dash. Rating: 5/5

Best tribute

JK: Dortmund supporter Martin Huschen spent four hours having Klopp’s face tattooed across his back in April. Dortmund hadn’t 
even won the Bundesliga when the 41-year-old plastics 
engineer did the deed. That’s dedication. Rating: 5/5
 
PG: “Anything for Guardiola!” squealed 33-year-old lorry driver 
Carlos Ruiz after getting his left leg inked with a celebratory shot 
of his hero in March 2012. “We owe him everything. He’s taught 
me how to be a better person.” Rating: 5/5

Pitchside antics

JK: All-action. With his dizzying blur of swashbuckling hand signals 
and blood-curdling cries of “Ansgar!” (“get back!”), fans relate 
to Klopp’s caged-tiger magnetism. Scaled a fence to say 
goodbye to Mainz fans before joining Dortmund in 2008. Rating: 5/5
 
PG: More calculated, pensive Pep splits his time between dugout and technical area. Folds his arms, scratches designer stubble or points animatedly at a seemingly inconsequential occurrence that could solve world debt – like someone not tracking a runner. Rating: 4/5

Total: 35/40 each

Impossible to split. Already the German Klassiker, Dortmund vs 
Bayern promises a cerebral coaching battle of rare intrigue. 


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