Berlin - Jurgen Klopp returns to Germany for the first time
as Liverpool coach on Thursday hunting a Europa League win at Augsburg in his
quest to quench the Reds' thirst for silverware.
Klopp returns to the sidelines at a Bundesliga ground for
the first time since the 48-year-old quit Borussia Dortmund last season, then
replaced Brendan Rogers as Liverpool coach in October.
Fans have clamoured for tickets for the round of 32,
first-leg clash at the WWK Arena in deepest Bavaria to see Liverpool, who are
unbeaten in their six European games under Klopp and buoyed by Sunday's
thrashing of Aston Villa.
Augsburg received 5,000 applications for just 2,000 away
tickets for the Liverpool game, which will be a 26,160 sell-out, with the
return leg at Anfield on February 25, just three days before the Reds play
Manchester City in the League Cup final.
While he is looking forward to returning home, Klopp is
focused on the job in hand.
"During the draw, I wasn't thinking 'please let it be a
German club'. At that point, I'd only been away for four months," he
"I'm looking forward to coming to Germany, but it's
work and it's not as though I've been waiting for it.
"(For Augsburg) Liverpool would have been an exciting
enough draw, without a German coach (being involved).
"The stadium would have already been full."
Also read: Klopp purrs over 'real striker' Sturridge
Liverpool arrive in Bavaria buoyed by their 6-0 drubbing of
Villa which left them eighth in the Premier League.
After a mid-season injury glut, Liverpool are getting back
to a fully fit squad.
Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi all
played in the drubbing of Villa after recent injuries.
Sturridge, who scored the opener at Villa Park, made his
first start since early October, while it was Coutinho's first start since
Klopp is expected to name a strong side, as Liverpool do not
have any games between the two legs after being knocked out of the FA Cup by
West Ham earlier this month.
In the Bundesliga, Augsburg are 14th, just a point from the
relegation places after Sunday's 3-1 defeat at home to runaway league leaders
After the League Cup, the Europa League presents Klopp with
a second chance at silverware in his first season to bring some European glory
back to Merseyside.
"I have never said that we have to win a title, but
people here make it clear how important silverware is," said Klopp.
While the Reds are on the rise, hosts Augsburg are battling
to stay up.
They are 14th in the Bundesliga, just a point from the
relegation places, after Sunday's 3-1 defeat at home to runaway league leaders
Bayern Munich, but the Germans want to show what they can do.
"This is an aboslute dream game for all of us at
Augsburg," said the club's director of sport Stefan Reuter, while coach
Markus Weinzierl described it as a "highlight in the club's history".
From his Dortmund days, Klopp knows all about Augsburg, who
qualified for the Europa League by finishing fifth last season, their highest
placing in the club's history.
Klopp has faced Augsburg ten times while in charge of either
Dortmund or Mainz and has lost only once in five games as a coach at the WWK
The Bavarians have struggled with their key playmaker Daniel
Baier out with a fractured ankle since the start of January.
"Augsburg have huge qualities and have developed
well," said Klopp.
"I like the club and have a lot of respect for the work
of Markus Weinzierl.
"But their key player is injured.
"I have seen a lot of Augsburg games, but none without
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