Borussia Dortmund’s victory over Real Madrid this week was many admirable things – not least another celebration of the German football culture in the wake of Bayern Munich’s crushing of Barcelona 24 hours earlier.
It was also another warning about the slippage of standards elsewhere and not least in England, a reality hardly relieved by the abrupt descent into mediocrity suffered 24 hours later when Chelsea laboured to victory over Basel.
However, and yet again, perhaps most impressive of all was the demeanour and the sheer working intelligence of Borussia’s 45-year-old coach Jürgen Klopp.
Heaven alone knows the angst that would have spilt from most of his rival managers had they learnt of the impending loss of one of their best players 24 hours before a Champions League semi-final.
What we had from Klopp was a stunning call to arms to his players and their huge following.
Klopp said everyone should live in the potentially glorious moment – and understand that the departure of the brilliant 20-year-old Mario Götze, while deeply regrettable, was one of the facts of life which a club like Borussia had to accommodate. Bayern had exploited the buyout clause in Götze’s contract, just as Dortmund had when they took away the superb Marco Reus from Borussia Mönchengladbach.
It was a fine point to make – and beautifully underlined by the fact that while Götze played extremely well, Reus looked as though he might well prove to be a player for the ages.