'I'm happy to introduce Liverpool to Dortmund'- Jurgen Klopp looking forward to homecoming
Published 18/03/2016 | 17:38
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is happy to be drawn against former club and Europa League favourites Borussia Dortmund - less than 24 hours after saying he would be "silly" to want them in the quarter-final draw.
The two sides were pitted together in the biggest tie of the round which presents the German with a romantic reunion with the side he left last summer.
"I am really happy with the draw," Klopp told liverpoolfc.com. "Yesterday I said why should I wish [to get] the strongest team in the tournament, but obviously if you want to win the Europa League, and when you are in the quarter-final, then you have to beat the strongest teams.
"It is better to play against them in two games than in only one game. I am really happy to introduce my new team to Dortmund. I am really happy to show the boys this wonderful stadium and a great city. It's a story only football can write."
The draw, which will see Liverpool travel to the Westfalenstadion on April 7 with the return leg a week later, sent social media into meltdown and the focus will only increase as the match approaches.
It is one of the ties of the tournament so far and Klopp, whose side dispatched arch-rivals Manchester United in another mouth-watering encounter in the last 16, believes it proves the strength of the competition.
However, he is determined to try to prevent his return to Dortmund overshadowing preparations.
"Two of the biggest clubs in the world meet each other in the Europa League, so everybody who thought a few months ago maybe it's not that interesting a tournament, hopefully they've switched their minds in the last few weeks," he said. "It's football at its best and how it should be.
"I still have three season tickets but my son uses them and is very often in the stadium - when he's not in Liverpool, of course - so, I am looking forward to going there.
"I loved this place, a few of the best things in my life happened there, so of course I am looking forward to it. But on the other side, I hate the hype around my person in these matches.
"I know about the business and all the circumstances but I don't like it to be honest. I will do what I have to do (in terms of pre-match media duties) and then we will see.
"During the game all the focus [should be] on these guys and then if somebody wants to talk to me after the game I am available then."
Unlike Klopp, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke did not underplay the fixture. "It feels it will be a momentous occasion when Klopp returns to Signal Iduna Park for the first leg." he told bvb.com.
"Jurgen Klopp is coming home and this is surely something special for him. We were sure we would meet Liverpool at some point in the competition and now we are looking forward to these extremely attractive duels."
Dortmund defender Neven Subotic is looking forward to the reunion.
"It is very exciting to see Kloppo again," he said. "I trained with him for nine years and he has done very well there - he has changed the team - and I'm obviously excited to play against his new team. It's definitely going to be nice to see him again."
The Liverpool-Dortmund encounter overshadows all other ties in the quarter-final, even that of the all-Spanish encounter between defending champions Sevilla, back-to-back winners, and Athletic Bilbao.
Other matches see Braga play Shakhtar Donetsk and Villarreal meet Sparta Prague.