The 21 strikers Jurgen Klopp has signed & how they fared: Lewy…

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Jurgen Klopp and Robert Lewandowski smile after the UEFA Champions League match between Zenit St. Petersburg and Borussia Dortmund at Petrowski stadium. February 2014.

Darwin Nunez is set to complete his big-money move to Liverpool and will become the 22nd striker that Jurgen Klopp has signed in his career. 

Klopp, who has previously managed Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, already had Roberto Firmino when he arrived at Liverpool and has enjoyed mixed success with striker signings over the years.

We’ve identified the 21 strikers Klopp has previously signed during his managerial career and how they fared under his leadership.

Note: We’ve not included any secondary strikers and have also left out Diogo Jota, who primarily played as a winger before joining Liverpool.

Abdelaziz Ahanfouf

It’s fair to say that this doesn’t get off to the best start.

Ahanfouf joined Mainz on a free transfer in January 2002 but left a few months later after failing to score in four cameo appearances.

Igoris Morinas

The former Lithuania international joined Mainz in the summer of 2002 and registered one goal and an assist in 17 appearances in his solitary season at the club.

A slight improvement.

Benjamin Auer

After starring for Germany at the Under-20 World Cup in 2001, Auer was linked with a move to Arsenal but he remained at Borussia Monchengladbach before joining Mainz a year later. 

The striker scored 34 goals during his four seasons at the club and helped Klopp’s side win promotion to the Bundesliga in 2004.

“First of all, I was warmly welcomed by him and the whole club,” he told Goal in 2020. “Jurgen was still in the early stages of his career but even then [he was] an absolute motivator. Moreover, he always had new ideas.”

Christoph Teinert

Signed from Hoffenheim in 2003, Teinert registered four goals and three assists in his debut season as Mainz secured promotion. He only scored one goal in the Bundesliga in 2004-05 and left on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Benfica's Darwin Nunez celebrates scoring their second goal of the Primeira Liga game. Estadio da Luz, April 2022.

READ: ‘A mix of Suarez & Cavani’ – 15 quotes on Liverpool signing Darwin Nunez

Ranisav Jovanovic

Following Mainz’s promotion to the Bundesliga, Klopp signed Jovanovic from German fourth-tier side Dynamo Dresden.

While he failed to score a competitive goal in his first two seasons at Mainz, he did score in a 5-0 friendly win over Liverpool in August 2006.

His two Bundesliga goals in 2006-07 weren’t enough to prevent their relegation to the second tier and he was sold to Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2008.

Conor Casey

During a loan spell at Karlsruher SC, Casey scored the goal that secured Mainz’s promotion to the Bundesliga and was then rewarded with a contract at the club.

But the striker struggled with injury problems and scored just five goals for Mainz before joining MLS side Toronto in February 2007.

“It was amazing,” he later said of his time under Klopp. “His enthusiasm, personality, rapport with the players, essence and positivity is something I still remember and took with me from my time there.”

Michael Thurk

A former team-mate of Klopp’s, Thurk left Mainz following their promotion to the Bundesliga but returned to the club in January 2005.

During his second spell at Mainz, he scored 23 goals in 57 appearances in all competitions as they sealed two consecutive 11th-place finishes in the Bundesliga.

But the striker then handed in a transfer request at the end of the 2005-06 season and controversially joined local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.


The Brazilian spent the first half of the 2005-06 season on loan at Mainz and made 10 appearances, scoring once in a 2-2 draw with VfL Osnabruck in the DFB-Pokal.


Edu joined Mainz in the summer of 2006 and marked his debut with a goal against Borussia Dortmund. But he failed to score in his next 14 appearances and joined South Korean side Suwon Samsung Bluewings in January 2007.

Marius Niculae

Niculae signed a six-month deal with Mainz in December 2006 but started just two games for the club and made a further four substitute appearances. He failed to score in any of those six appearances and joined Inverness following Mainz’s relegation.

“I had an argument with him,” Niculae told Eurosport. “He put me in the last five minutes in a match, I lost two against one, it was already 2-0 for us, and I preferred to take it with me and shoot at the goal than to care for the colleague who would surely have made 3 -0.

“After the match, he took me in front of the team and scolded me very much. He reproached me that I had to care but I replied, ‘what should I do if you put me in for five minutes?’ Of course, I wanted to score a goal to get more involved next time.

“He told me that’s why he wouldn’t bother me at all.”

Jurgen Klopp celebrates after Liverpool beat West Ham at Anfield. March 2022.

READ: 13 quotes to explain Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy: ‘I always want it loud’

Felix Borja

After Mainz were relegated from the Bundesliga in 2007, Klopp signed Borja from Olympiacos on a season-long loan deal.

The former Ecuador international scored 17 goals in 33 appearances during his loan spell and Mainz made the move permanent at the end of the season.

But he struggled to replicate that form under Klopp’s successors and joined Mexican side Puebla on a free transfer in January 2011.

Isaac Boakye

Klopp’s last first-team signing at Mainz, Boakye joined the club on loan from Wolfsburg in January 2008 and scored one goal in 13 appearances in the 2. Bundesliga.

Bajram Sadrijaj

After starring for lower league side TSG Thannhausen, Sadrijaj became one of Klopp’s first signings at Borussia Dortmund and was tipped for a bright future.

But he a debut to forget, receiving a straight red card 12 seconds after coming off the bench against RW Essen in the DFB-Pokal. Yes, you read that correctly. 

The striker made another four substitute appearances for Dortmund before being released at the end of the 2009-10 season.

Lucas Barrios

Klopp dipped into the South American market in the summer of 2009 and signed Barrios from Chilean side Colo-Colo in a £3.15million deal.

The striker made an immediate impact at Dortmund, enjoying back-to-back 20+ goal seasons and helping them beat Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title in 2010-11. 

But he fell down the pecking order in the 2011-12 season and joined Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.

Robert Lewandowski

After an Icelandic volcano stopped Lewandowski from joining Big Sam’s Blackburn, Klopp brought him to Dortmund in a €4million deal in the summer of 2010.

The Poland international then developed into one of the best strikers in the world, scoring 103 goals in 187 appearances under Klopp.

“Jurgen was not only a father figure to me,” Lewandowski later wrote in The Players Tribune. “As a coach, he was like the ‘bad’ teacher, the one who was strict with you. The one who put pressure on you and did everything to get the best out of you.

“He was not content to let you be a B student, you know? Jurgen wanted A+ students. He didn’t want it for him. He wanted it for you.”

The 33-year-old joined Bayern Munich on a free transfer in 2014 and hasn’t done too badly in recent years.

Julian Schieber

After scoring a brace in Stuttgart’s 4-4 draw with Dortmund in March 2012, Schieber completed a £4.95million move to Klopp’s side a few weeks later.

He scored five goals in 37 appearances during his debut season, including a winner against Manchester City in the Champions League group stages.

But the striker only started three games in all competitions in the 2013-14 season and was then allowed to join Hertha Berlin.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Having caught Klopp’s attention with his performances at Saint-Etienne, Aubameyang joined Dortmund in a £13million deal in 2013.

The Gabon international scored 41 goals in 93 appearances under Klopp but then took his game up another level following Thomas Tuchel’s arrival in 2015.

“Klopp brought me a lot,” Aubameyang told France Football. “He gave me strength of character and made me develop defensively. The two years I spent with him were very useful to help me step up a level. He’s someone charismatic and I have a lot of respect for this man.

“He often asked me to go and discuss things with him — when things weren’t going as well but also when they were going well. It’s good to have a coach who speaks to you, who gives his opinion and knows how to advise you.”

Ji Dong-won 

Despite struggling at Sunderland, Dong-won completed a surprise move to Dortmund in the summer of 2014. But he failed to make a single first-team appearance for the club and joined Augsburg a few months later. 

“I didn’t play, I was injured twice. I didn’t get a chance, it was difficult for me,” the South Korea international said when reflecting on his time at Dortmund. 

Ciro Immobile

After Lewandowski joined Bayern Munich, Klopp tried to fill that void by signing Immobile from Torino in a £16.2million deal.

The striker had scored 22 goals in 33 Serie A games in 2013-14 but failed to replicate that form in the Bundesliga, scoring just three league goals for Dortmund.

Since leaving Germany and returning to Italy, he has rediscovered his best form and scored over 150 goals for Lazio.

“I think that I just moved to Dortmund at an inconvenient time as far as the team was concerned,” Immobile told Sport Bild.

“With Klopp, Dortmund became champions in 2011 and 2012 and then came second twice. After the first half of my season there, we were second from last in the Bundesliga.

“That meant young, foreign players being left out. I don’t think Klopp didn’t see any quality in me, but in this difficult phase he put more trust in players he already knew and could rely on.”

Adrian Ramos

Despite impressing at Hertha Berlin, Ramos scored just two Bundesliga goals during a disastrous debut season at Dortmund in 2014-15. 

“It was good in the beginning,” Ramos later told Goal. “He [Klopp] really wanted me on his team, but you know what kind of season it was. I thought I was in the wrong movie or some curse was on me. The season was a disaster.

“Unfortunately, after a few games, I hardly played anymore. Klopp trusted other players more. He said I wouldn’t train well enough. Once he even removed me from the squad for sporting reasons. That was bitter.

“I felt it was unfair, after all, I wasn’t the only player whose form was fluctuating. Yes, there are days when you don’t hit the goal even in training. Is that why I am a worse player? No. It’s about trust. Even though I learned a lot under Klopp, I only felt his trust at the beginning.”

While his form improved slightly following Klopp’s departure, he was still sold to Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan in 2017.

Dominic Solanke

Once regarded as one of football’s best young prospects, Solanke joined Liverpool following the expiry of his Chelsea contract in 2017. 

But the striker failed to live up to the hype, scoring one goal in 27 appearances before completing a £19million move to Bournemouth in January 2019. 

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