After being dismissed from the sidelines during last Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Napoli, most expected Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp to be suspended for next Tuesday’s visit from Olympique Marseille. Today that ban became official, with Klopp’s outburst in the first half of last week’s Champions League opener set to sideline him for BVB’s second group stage match.
The incident happened in the first half after Neven Subotic was delaying being waved back onto the field after receiving treatment for a cut. After Gonzalo Higuaín headed home a Juan Camilo Zuñiga cross as Subotic was running on, Klopp went off:
As he conceded after the match, Klopp’s display was idiotic (his word: “pathetic”), with the stupidity functioning on three levels. First, while it’s understandable that a coach would need some outlet to vent their frustrations, the fourth official shouldn’t be abused for a decision the head referee controls. Stand at the edge of the area and burst a lung making your case to the person in the middle, but leave the fourth official alone.
Second, while we could lean on caveats about the heat of the moment justifying heightened emotions, it doesn’t. Look at the way Klopp is towering over, intimidating the smaller man, somebody who’s not engaging in the confrontation. For a few, ill-advised moments, Klopp became a stereotypical, over-aggressive jock, something he undoubtedly regrets. Nobody wants to think of themselves as a bully.
And finally, the outburst has cost him more than a game-and-a-half’s time guiding his team. When you add up the suspension and the time Klopp missed in Napoli, he’ll be sidelined for nearly 160 minutes – just under 30 percent of Dortmund’s group stage.
Perhaps BVB will be fine without him, but no outburst is worth that risk. In the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to find the needed restraint, but that’s part of his job. As Klopp would surely agree, he needs to be better than this.