The Borussia Dortmund coach insists they will continue to get better but, admits replicating last season’s Champions League run will be tough
Dortmund won over the hearts and minds of the continent’s fans with their exhilarating run to last season’s Champions League final, where they were defeated by a late winner from Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
Yet, despite routing Real Madrid 4-1 in the first leg of the semi-final this year, Dortmund coach Klopp claims his side will keep on improving.
Speaking to Uefa.com, Klopp said: “We haven't reached our peak in terms of performance yet, but if we look at our results last season then we almost achieved it.
“We still don't have a clue how well the team can play, we still have to show that.”
The 46-year-old has instigated an incredible turnaround since taking over at the Signal Iduna Park in the summer of 2008.
Klopp cut his managerial teeth at Mainz before joining Dortmund and, in the five subsequent seasons, the club have won two Bundesliga titles, the 2012 DFB Pokal, while he was awarded coach of the year in Germany twice.
Yet, despite those successes, Klopp insists "I’m no magician".
“We cannot make good players out of bad players. We need to recognise the potential in the right players, try to develop it to turn it into skills with the help of everyone involved. That's how you can find success,” he added.
“Generally I think we can make a team better with the way we work, with the way we train.”
Dortmund are grouped alongside Arsenal, Marseille and Napoli in Group F but, Klopp was reluctant to predict a similar European adventure to last year, and admits his side struck lucky en route to Wembley.
“You can only reach the final by also being lucky in some situations. No team makes it to the final just because they're the best and strongest team," he continued.
“We were certainly not the best team and therefore we needed a bit more luck. You also need a big heart, great desire, and then we can make it a long way, but we might also be knocked out in the group stage.
“In the Champions League the quality of the other teams is just too high. It would have been crazy if we had won the Champions League last season.
“Only a few lads thought they would become Bundesliga players, and five years later they became domestic champions twice and won the German Cup once. And to have then become Champions League winners, that would have been an incredible story.”
Certainly Klopp’s Dortmund have become an incredible story regardless, and the coach explained how managing the club requires much more than just on-field success.
“You need a playing philosophy that reflects your mentality, that reflects the club, that gives a direction to follow," he said.
“That means taking the passion to its limits. Borussia Dortmund don't just play for a result, Borussia Dortmund means an experience.”