Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel is set for his third big game in English football as the Blues visit the champions Liverpool on Thursday.
Since arriving in England, Tuchel’s record against the top six has been a win against Tottenham Hotspur and the goalless draw against Manchester United. While the former PSG manager is yet to face Manchester City and Arsenal, the wait to battle Liverpool is nearly over.
What has dominated Thursday’s game is however not the size and ambitions of the two clubs nor the league status, instead, it is two leading German coaches who share a connecting history.
Klop made his name at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, before the younger Tuchel followed the same path a few years later to become one of Europe’s top managers.
“It's nice to be compared because he's one of the best coaches in Europe," Tuchel told Sky Sports News.
"On one hand it's nice because it tells you you've reached a certain level, and then at some point, it's not nice because it does not tell the truth.
The outspoken Tuchel also made sure to confirm that the two Germans are not as personally connected as it may appear.
"I like him a lot and I am full of respect and we have good times when we meet in coaches' meetings, there is no doubt about it, but we are not half as close as everybody thinks.
"And we also do not have the years in clubs where we are in exchange, or where I can really learn from him, from his coaching methods, because I was never there when he was there.
Tuchel concluded to add that living up to Klopp’s legacy was never his motivation, but nevertheless recognizes the coincidental pattern.
"I never felt really that way because we never had the chance to work with each other.
"So it was not like I joined the academy of Mainz, and Jurgen was there as a head coach - that never happened.
"But me being after him and people comparing us to each other because he had many, many years and left his footprints, and I was lucky to be there five years professional coach, one year in the academy, six years...
"So people comparing each other all the time gave everybody the impression that we came the same way, and then of course. following him in Dortmund made this impression even bigger,” Tuchel concluded.