Former club gets into the carnival spirit for Jurgen.
JURGEN Klopp was the coach that made Mainz 05 a football force so it's telling that, as he takes his Liverpool side back to the club where he spent 18 years, their president declares that joining the Reds was "the best decision he ever made."
Nicknamed 'Karnevalsverein' (The Carnival Club) because they're based in one of Germany's foremost carnival cities, Mainz 05 partied under Klopp as he steered them into the Bundesliga for the first time and the festivities will resume this weekend when he returns with his Anfield stars.
Club president Harald Strutz, whose tenure extends back to 1988 - two years before Klopp first arrived as a player - told the ECHO: "We'll have a big festival in Mainz. Jurgen Klopp is like a symbol for the success of our club.
"In 2001 we decided to make him manager of our team and we've always been in contact.
"For me it was beautiful that he decided to go to Liverpool. I'm of the opinion that it's the best club for him, for his mentality, for the kind of human being that he is and the way he likes to play football.
"He will be supported by all the people of Liverpool and I saw a lot of good impressions from their time in the Europa League last season.
"It's the best decision he ever made. I'm very happy that we have the opportunity to meet him again in Mainz against his Liverpool team. The Mainz people will be really delighted to see him."
Given that the Reds faced Barcelona in a lucrative friendly at Wembley just 24 hours before their trip to Mainz, it would have been convenient for Klopp to put any homecoming on the back-burner in what has been a hectic pre-season schedule.
However, it's testament to the respect and affection he has for the people of Mainz that he's taking a Liverpool team back there at the earliest possible opportunity.
Mr Strutz said: "Jurgen had 11 years as a player at Mainz and another seven years as coach with us, so that is a good friendship. Not just myself but all the people and the staff plus the supporters.
"He started his career at our club and everybody knows it was a very emotional time for us.
"Two times we missed out on going up to the First Division and it was a very sad experience. But in the third year, he succeeded in taking us up to the Bundesliga for the first time and it was so emotional for the whole town and the whole region. Those days with Jurgen will always be remembered."
Mainz are now established as a Bundesliga club after seven consecutive seasons in the German top flight and they finished in sixth position last season.
In a similar way that Bill Shankly instilled a certain way of working at Liverpool with the Boot Room mentality, so Klopp's legacy has left its mark in the Rhineland.
Mr Strutz said: "His name will always go together with Mainz but now we have the same type of coaches. After Klopp we had Thomas Tuchel, who also went to Dortmund, and now Martin Schmidt.
"There is now a special philosophy at our club and that comes from Klopp."
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|Publication:||Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Aug 7, 2016|
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