The Bundesliga club’s former physio explained what it was like to work alongside the Reds head coach
Former Borussia Dortmund physiotherapist Frank Zollner has admitted Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp can go “pretty crazy” sometimes, but he always “had the balls” to apologise to people if he went too far.
Zollner is considered a legend at Signal Iduna Park, having worked for Dortmund for almost 20 years between 1992 and 2009, but is now a part of the backroom team at 2. Bundesliga side VfL Bochum.
During Zollner’s time with BVB, the club won three Bundesliga titles and the Champions League and naturally the 52-year-old has plenty of stories to tell when it comes to head coaches he worked under.
“He’s a special guy,” Zollner told Goal and SPOX of Klopp. “There were so many days when you’d think: ‘Great guy!’, but sometimes you’d think: ‘What an egocentric!’.
“One time, Jakub Blaszczykowski called me when he was coming back from the [Polish] national team. He said he couldn’t train because of a muscle injury but would still come to the team meeting.
“Before the meeting, I went to Klopp with Kuba (Blaszczykowski) and told him what was going on. He then went pretty crazy, probably because he had only just learned about Kuba’s injury at that moment.
“Zeljko Buvac (Klopp’s former assistant) would often appear at such moments and say: ‘Kloppo, smoke a cigarette now and calm down!’. He was one of the best assistant coaches I’ve ever worked under. But Kloppo had the balls to apologise when the way he treated someone was too much.”
Another hugely respected head coach Zollner worked under was Ottmar Hitzfeld, with the physio explaining how he was lucky not to incur his wrath for helping a part-drunk, part-hungover Stefan Klos during a training camp.
“It was 1995 and we were at a training camp on Lake Lucerne,” Zollner continued. “It was always the case that the physio room was close to a fire escape and I usually had the key to it. Sometimes I just didn’t close the door and one night the boys went off to have a party.
“The next day I noticed right away that some of them were pretty f*cked up – especially goalkeeper Stefan Klos. So, we said to Ottmar that we were taking him out of training that day because he had a knee injury.
“The players had the afternoon off that day and many of them went water skiing. We, however, chugged over to Lucerne on a boat with Ottmar.
“During the trip, Stefan suddenly appeared next to us on water skis, didn’t notice Ottmar, and said with a loud laugh: ‘Hey, Zolle! The knee is perfect again!’. Ottmar saw that, of course, but he said something about it because he was just a brilliant guy.”