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.
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:
Jurgen Klopp didn't seem too happy with Niko Kovač at full-time.#LIVBAY #UCL pic.twitter.com/gQHE6o70EK— The Swype Sports ™ (@TheSwypeSports) February 19, 2019