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Jürgen Klopp furious with Niko Kovac over handshake after draw between Bayern Munich and Liverpool

Kloppo got heated when Kovac took too long to shake hands after the final whistle. He felt “like the ox before the hill” — or maybe like “a shag on a rock.”

Liverpool v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Honors were even at Anfield as Bayern Munich and Liverpool played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their round of 16 tie in the Champions League. Both Jürgen Klopp and Niko Kovac’s men put forth valiant, respectable efforts, but apparently things got a little heated between the two managers after the final whistle.

Per AZ, after the full time whistle had gone, Klopp went to find Kovac to give him a customary handshake, but Kovac was busy congratulating his bench. Tensions were already raised when Kovac had made a gesture to Klopp during the match where he held his fingers around his eyes to suggest that Klopp wasn’t seeing things on the pitch rationally. After the match, Klopp said that it was just a misunderstanding, but that Kovac still should’ve been ready to shake his hand:

That was a pure misunderstanding. I wanted to shake his hand immediately [after the game]. But Niko first high-fived all Bavaria — not Bayern Munich — all Bavaria. Then I said to him, when he came back, “Hey, maybe next time turn around to me for a second; then we’ll do that and I can go see my people. Because I was standing there a bit like a dope.”

Standard English “dope” hardly does justice to Klopp’s actual expression, wie der Ochs vorm Berg, literally, “like the ox before the hill.” But Australia has a nice equivalent that perhaps captures Klopp’s humor more authentically: “like a shag on a rock.” You get the idea.

Liverpool v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and FC Bayern Muenchen manager Niko Kovac shake hands at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Liverpool and FC Bayern Muenchen at Anfield on February 19, 2019 in Liverpool, England.
A half-hearted handshake between Klopp and Kovac.
Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

According to Klopp, Kovac told him he wanted to congratulate Franck Ribéry on the birth of his child, but Klopp did not sound very convinced:

He told me he wanted to talk with Ribéry, because he became a father. But it was already for the fifth time — that’s not so exciting anymore then.

Kovac admitted that he genuinely just went to his bench first before going to Klopp, and he apologized to the Liverpool boss when they finally shook hands:

Everything was ok. It’s customary in England to shake hands after the final whistle. In this case, I first went to my bench and not to him. He [Klopp] isn’t familiar with that in England. I apologized for it; no offense was intended, after all. We shook hands afterward.

The full incident didn’t look too cordial from either party:

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