Over the past decade he was the celebrated star among German soccer coaches. If success had a name, it was Jürgen Klopp.
Promoted to team manager at the small time football team Mainz 05 after an injury ended his playing career at the club, Mr. Klopp’s success there propelled him into the big time. As coach of sleeping giants Borussia Dortmund from 2008, he has twice won the Bundesliga, Germany’s premier league, and took his team to the final of the European Champions League competition.
The unconventional coach was even viewed as a potential successor to national team coach Joachim Löw.
Now the man so accustomed to success is experiencing what must be one of the toughest periods of his career. After losing to middling Frankfurt at the weekend, Dortmund are rock bottom of the Bundesliga.
Ironically, Mr. Klopp was scheduled to give a talk on leadership and motivation to a group of businesspeople on Monday in a ritzy Frankfurt hotel not far from the site of his latest humiliation. Many fans now question whether he has lost those two skills after six years in charge.
Nonetheless, the audience of suits in Germany’s banking capital hung on every word spoken by Mr. Klopp, who until now has been seen as a leadership role model.