Mitch Langerak revealed Borussia Dortmund were caught off guard by Jurgen Klopp’s decision to relinquish his role as coach at the end of the 2014-15 Bundesliga season.
Klopp – since replaced by Thomas Tuchel – ended his seven-year association with Dortmund following last month’s DFB Pokal defeat to Wolfsburg, despite having a contract that ran until 2018.
The German boss, who announced his decision to walk away from Signal Iduna Park in April, left the club with iconic status after winning the Bundesliga twice and the DFB Pokal in 2012, as well as reaching the 2013 UEFA Champions League final.
Dortmund’s 2014-15 campaign was not as successful for the 48-year-old, whose team remarkably flirted with relegation at the mid-season break before rallying to finish in the UEFA Europa League places.
Despite the topsy-turvy season, Dortmund goalkeeper Langerak told Perform the club were surprised Klopp opted to depart.
“For all the players it was an emotional time. It was an end of an era. We had such a successful time together. For all the boys it was a bit of a shame,” said the Australia international.
“He was there for seven years, I was there for five of those and probably the five most successful. We won titles and reached some great times as a team.
“It was fantastic to be part of that. Obviously with him stepping down it was a shock for everybody, myself included.
“We’ve all had our chance to say goodbye and thank him for what he’s done for our careers.
“It’s something we will look back on and remember for years to come for what we achieved.”
Klopp had a particularly significant influence on Langerak, having plucked the Australian from obscurity five years ago.
Langerak – 21 at the time – linked up with the German giants from A-League outfit Melbourne Victory in 2010, brought in as back up for international Roman Weidenfeller.
He has, however, slowly forced himself into first-choice reckoning, staking his claim for Dortmund’s number one position with 17 appearances in all competitions last term – his best return since arriving in Europe.
“He had a massive impact on my career. When I came to Germany I was quite young,” Langerak said of Klopp, who once described him as a beach boy from Australia.
“I knew I was coming to a massive club and it wasn’t going to be easy, but he definitely made the transition smooth for me.
“Over time I got my chance and played some games under him. As a person, as a coach, his mentality is brilliant. He’s very charismatic and passionate. You know what you are going to get. If you perform or you give everything you have, he will be happy regardless of the outcome of the game.
“If you take his instructions, you will never have problem with him and that is something he told me in my first meeting with him before I signed.”