Klopp vs Ancelotti: Head to head stats and records ahead of the Champions League Final

Take a look through previous meetings between the two managers, as well as their final records and other alternative stats

Published: 25 May 2022 - 1.59pm
Klopp meets Ancelotti in Paris on Saturday 28 May.

Two managerial titans meet on the touchline at the Stade de France as Jurgen Klopp faces Carlo Ancelotti for the biggest prize in European football.

It’s a battle between two of Europe’s true heavyweights as the European Cup’s most successful club Real Madrid take on the joint-third most in Liverpool.

The Champions League final features some of the finest players in world football with the three leading contenders for the Ballon d’Or – Karim Benzema, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane – all in action in the French capital.

The final also serves up a tantalising battle between two coaches with contrasting approaches to man-management and tactics as the ever-energetic Klopp pits himself against the cool, calm and collected Carlo once again.

Klopp vs Ancelotti - Head-to-Head

Games Played: 10*

Klopp wins: 3

Draws: 3

Ancelotti wins: 4

*Between Klopp's Dortmund and Ancelotti's Real, Klopp's Liverpool and Ancelotti's Napoli & Everton

The pair have faced each other 10 times in their managerial careers, with Ancelotti winning four of the battles including the most recent meeting – a 2-0 win as Everton manager at Anfield that represented The Blues’ first win in a Merseyside derby for more than a decade. The head-to-head record shows Ancelotti has proven one of Klopp’s most tricky opponents.

During his first spell at Real, Ancelotti saw off Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in the 2013/14 Champion League quarter-finals as they won 3-2 on aggregate despite a nervy 2-0 defeat at Signal Iduna Park in the second leg.

The two would meet again in the 2017/18 Champions League group stages with Ancelotti in charge of Napoli and Klopp on Merseyside. Liverpool would lose 1-0 in the Stadio San Paolo but, in a must-win final group game, they emerged 1-0 winners at Anfield to advance at the Neapolitans' expense en route to the final.

Paired for a second year running in the group stages, Napoli claimed a 2-0 win in Naples again causing Ancelotti to joke: “I told Klopp not to worry, because if he loses here he tends to make the Champions League final”. A 1-1 dead rubber followed at Anfield

The Italian is always cool, calm and collected on the touchline.
The Italian is always cool, calm and collected on the touchline.

When Ancelotti arrived on the blue half of Merseyside, hopes were high that the Italian’s spell would bring The Toffees out of the shadow of their more illustrious rivals. It didn’t quite materialise, but Ancelotti fared better than most of his predecessors.

One defeat, an FA Cup loss, two draws and that famous 2-0 win at Anfield were recorded before the veteran coach returned to Madrid in acrimonious circumstances.

Despite leading Everton to an historic win, as they won at Anfield for the first time since 1999, Ancelotti was unflappable on the touchline as Klopp raged alongside him.

It’s a common theme between the two men, whose actions inside the technical area are in sharp contrast with one another. Ancelotti often appears the most relaxed man in the stadium while all hell breaks loose before him.

In the incredible barn-burner of a Champions League semi-final second leg win over Manchester City, in which his Real side scored twice in the dying moments to force extra time, Ancelotti stood largely still on the touchline in the eye of the tornado.

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While Pep Guardiola crouched, pointed and screamed, remonstrating frenetically a few metres to his left, Ancelotti delivered his instructions quietly and calmly. Asked by Des Kelly in his post-match interview how he could remain so calm during the match, Ancelotti’s response was a puff of the cheeks and a customary raise of his eyebrow.

It was only at the end of the game, when he embraced his son and assistant Davide warmly, that the 62-year-old betrayed any emotion as he became the first coach to reach five Champions League finals.

This is a man who, as his Everton side scored a fifth and final late winner in a 5-4 victory over Tottenham, could be seen blowing his cup of coffee to cool it down on the touchline. “He’s seen it all before,” was Ancelotti’s then-assistant Duncan Ferguson’s explanation.

It’s true. Ancelotti has coached 1221 career matches across a 27-year managerial career at most of the continent’s biggest clubs including Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Last month the Real Madrid coach became the first to win the league title in all five major European leagues as he clinched La Liga.

Ancelotti has won the competition three times.
Ancelotti has won the competition three times.

In Paris, Ancelotti can become the first man to lift the European Cup four times having already become the first to lead four different clubs to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Respect from his players, particularly in his later years, is therefore a given. Superstars love playing for Ancelotti, a man whose autobiography was titled Quiet Leadership and who avoids micro-managing his players and creates an environment where the best can excel.

Even egos as big as Cristiano Ronaldo’s are won over with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner describing Ancelotti as “like a big teddy bear”.

“He would speak with us every day, but not just me, with all the players,” Ronaldo said of his former Real coach. “He’s one of the best and most important people I’ve met in my entire time in football…

“He understands the players, he was one once, so he has the experience. He knows how to get the most out of a team. It’s no coincidence we won almost everything.”

Such adulation is shared by those who play for Klopp, whose style of man-management is considerably more hands-on. While Ancelotti celebrates a late winner with a furrowed brow, Klopp is manic. After Divock Origi’s late winner in the Merseyside derby win over Everton in December 2018 the German sprinted onto the pitch and flew at his goalkeeper Alisson in a crazed embrace.

At the end of wins, Klopp is found offering out man-hugs to his lieutenants before timing his fist bumps towards the Anfield crowd to cheer after cheer. Everyone who dons the Liverpool shirt adores the manager, from Virgil van Dijk to Sadio Mane who referred to the German as “like a father figure”.  

“His secret, is to be the team’s Dad,” the Senegal forward said. “We all love him like a father and we fear him like one too… I trust him blindly.” “Mentality monsters,” is what the Liverpool coach proudly calls his players.

It’s all part of the package with the 54-year-old, who values his relationship with fans as much as his players just as he did at Dortmund where he departed as a beloved hero.

From the moment Klopp arrived, the German was calling the fans “special”. After a 2-2 home draw with West Brom during his first season, Klopp led his Liverpool players over to thank the home supporters and ahead of the return of supporters following Covid he said he “couldn’t wait” to feel the connection once again.

The successes are piling up, too. Klopp is in with a chance of securing an historic quadruple this season after already claiming both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. The 2022 Champions League final will be his fourth, third with Liverpool after a 2013 final appearance with Dortmund, and his third in five seasons.

Klopp’s teams play in their manager’s image. Klopp’s Geggenpress will be out in full force again come Saturday 28 May as his well-drilled Liverpool side pressure the opposition immediately after coughing up possession.

It’s an exhausting tactic that requires players working in perfect tandem but it’s one that works to devastating effect when Liverpool are on song. The Reds manager prefers hard-working midfielders who harry and hassle to creative technicians who play as individuals. “No player in the world can be as good as a good counter-pressing situation,” Klopp said.

Klopp's brilliant relationship with his players is there for all to see.
Klopp's brilliant relationship with his players is there for all to see.

Ancelotti’s tactics can be best described as fluid and his system has taken many different forms since the Italian first took charge of Reggiana in 1995. At first a proponent of 4-4-2, Ancelotti has experimented with wing-backs, a diamond – most notably at Chelsea, a deep-lying play-maker with Andrea Pirlo at AC Milan and with a rather modern 4-2-3-1 featuring three forwards such as with Real and Benzema, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

There is no identifiable style running throughout his managerial career, instead Ancelotti fits the system around the players at his disposal. If his system at PSG wasn’t going to suit Ronaldo at Real, he’ll change it when he arrives. Ancelotti is the ultimate tactical pragmatist.

It all makes for a fascinating encounter between two of the continent’s most fascinating and storied coaches. “They are now massive favourites with the experience they have,” was Klopp’s verdict after learning Liverpool’s Champions League opponents.

It may be mind games from the German but the attempts to ruffle his opposite number are hardly going to succeed against a coach they call ‘Don Carlo’. Ancelotti’s response upon reaching the final? A knowing smile and a prediction that “it will be a fantastic game”.

You can watch two of the very best go head-to-head at the Stade de France on Saturday May 28 as Liverpool take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final.