The end of something: Farewell Klopp, and the noble fear of becoming too big for Borussia
"I don't know. It isn't fun anymore. Not any of it." (Ernest Hemingway – The End of Something)
It came as a surprise. Within a few minutes, my Facebook timeline exploded. "How can such a sunny day suddenly turn so bleak?," a long-time Dortmund supporter wrote. Almost pleadingly, she added: "I don't want this." Another fan posted: "I feel a bit like I did on the day Freddie Mercury died."
Even though the G7 Summit is held 30 minutes down the road from where I now live, the 12 o'clock news all but ignored global political affairs. Instead, they began with the words: "Dortmund. It seems there will be a spectacular managerial change in football's Bundesliga."
There are no two ways about it: the news that Jürgen Klopp would leave Dortmund in the summer hit football fans, particularly Dortmund fans, in much the same way that catholics were shaken to the core when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. One seemed as unthinkable as the other.
However, as shocked and stunned as most people reacted to the news, Klopp's move wasn't quite as surprising anymore as it would have been a few months ago.
On Saturday, his Dortmund team tied an age-old Bundesliga record by conceding a goal in the first minute for the third time this season. Add to this Yaya Sanogo's goal for Arsenal after 65 seconds, Carlos Tevez's strike for Juventus after 132 seconds or Davie Selke's goal for Bremen before 180 seconds had been played and it really made you wonder if this team was mentally drained rather than physically.
On Monday, Kicker magazine said that back in December, Klopp had convinced the club's board that the dismal showings during the first half of the season were down to a lack of fitness and too many injuries. But now it had become clear that "Dortmund's glorious generation is showing symptoms of wear and tear". The magazine added: "despite his fantastic achievements, the coach's position cannot be taboo anymore".
Yesterday morning, the regional newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten reported that a week ago, Borussia's director of football Michael Zorc had walked into the dressing room during the half-time break of Dortmund's cup game against Hoffenheim to "rant" at the team. There are clubs where this may be normal, but since 2008, when Klopp took over, Borussia wasn't one of them. So there had been signs.