BERLIN — While he'd love to sign off with a win, outgoing Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp doesn't want to be the hero in Saturday's German Cup final against Wolfsburg.
"It's not my aim to be the hero tomorrow," Klopp said Friday ahead of his last game in charge. "I'm happy to leave that to the players."
The 47-year-old coach is leaving Dortmund after seven memorable seasons, having restored the club's standing after its flirtation with bankruptcy in 2005 and brushes with relegation in subsequent years.
Klopp took over in 2008 and led Dortmund to the Bundesliga title in 2011, its first league and cup double the following year — when Dortmund defeated Bayern Munich 5-2 in the cup final — and to the 2013 Champions League final, where Bayern exacted revenge through a late goal from Arjen Robben.
Under Klopp, Dortmund was a persistent thorn in Bayern's side though the Bavarian powerhouse left Dortmund runner-up in the league in 2013 and 2014, while Bayern also won last year's German Cup final in extra time.
Dortmund reached Saturday's final at Berlin's Olympiastadion by defeating Bayern on penalties in Munich, where the home side missed all of its spot kicks.
"It was our target at the start of the season to be here now, and I'm happy we are after such a difficult season," said Klopp.
This was the first season that Klopp had to face mild criticism, with some media commentators wondering if he had lost his touch. There were times it appeared he could do little to stem the tide.
Dortmund lost stars Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski to Bayern in successive seasons and struggled to replace them, while injuries to important players didn't help either. Klopp's side maintained its high-pressure intensive game but conceded on counterattacks and the players appeared to lack confidence both in defense and attack. It seemed Klopp had no Plan B.
Dortmund slipped to bottom of the Bundesliga in February before the side eventually recovered to finish seventh and clinch a place in the Europa League.
If Dortmund beats Wolfsburg on Saturday, Klopp would become the club's most successful coach with six trophies including the two German Supercup titles. Ottmar Hitzfeld has five.
When he announced his departure in April, Klopp said his "last dream" was to enjoy one final time on Borsigplatz, the Dortmund square where the club celebrates titles with fans.
"It's one of the best things you can experience," Klopp said Friday. "It could become a hobby of mine."