Stefan Klos is a club legend at Borussia Dortmund and played a vital role between the sticks during Ottmar Hitzfeld’s successful spell in the 1990s.
He may have earned more honours with Rangers in Scotland but he was instrumental in Dortmund’s historical Champions League victory in 1997. He will go down in Dortmund folklore.
It is surprising to know that Klos did not make one full international appearance for his country, as he was sadly overshadowed by the likes of Oliver Kahn and Andreas Kopke, two legendary keepers in their own right. But Klos should be remembered for his time in football for his reflexes, energy and zany personality.
Arriving at Dortmund
He was a local Dortmund boy, born in the area, and joined the side from neighbouring TSC Eintracht Dortmund in summer of 1990. Klos was behind first choice goalkeeper Wolfgang De Beer, and had to accept playing for the under 19s for the majority of the season.
It was not until the end of the 1990-91 campaign, when Klos made his debut for Borussia Dortmund at the age of 19. His first game was in the Bundesliga against SG Wattenscheid 09, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
From his second season onwards, Klos became Borussia Dortmund’s regular first choice goalkeeper, relegating De Beer to the bench. His first season as the number one was very impressive. Dortmund finished runners-up in the 1991-92 season, losing the title to Stuttgart on goal difference. But the team’s disappointment at the end of the season should not overshadow Klos’ individual excellence. He conceded 33 goals in 31 games, and kept 11 clean sheets in first full season as number one.
The Beginning of Klos’ European Adventure
Due to the side’s second place finish, they were handed a UEFA Cup place in the 1992-93 season. Dortmund battled their way through to the final. Klos was vital in the 2-0 second leg victory over Roma in the Quarter Final.
He was needed again, when Dortmund drew 2-2 with French Ligue 1 side Auxerre after two legs and extra time. He saved a Stephane Mane penalty to help his side win the tie 6-5 on penalties, and send them through to the final against Juventus.
But Klos was powerless to stop the Baggios running riot, as the Italian side won 6-1 on aggregate. From this despair, Dortmund were starting to become a force in German football. A quiet 1993-94 season ended with a fourth place finish and a UEFA Cup final defeat.
From this point on, the 1990s in German football belonged to Borussia Dortmund with Klos at the helm. During his side’s title winning Bundesliga 1994-95 campaign, Klos was pivotal to the team and was ever present with 34 appearances.
He earned 14 clean sheets during the season, and only conceded 33 goals. Klos was the last man of the meanest and tightest defence in the division. He helped grind out a 2-0 second leg victory over Lazio in the quarter final, winning the tie 2-1 on aggregate. But again Juventus and Roberto Baggio proved too much for Klos and Dortmund, as the Italian side won the semi-final 4-3 on aggregate.
Klos was not looked at again for Germany for their Euro 1996 squad, despite helping his Borussia Dortmund to their second successive Bundesliga title. He conceded 36 goals, and earned 12 clean sheets during the 1995/96 campaign.
THE CHERRY ON TOP: Champions league glory
Klos was part of the most famous Borussia Dortmund seasons in the club’s history. 1996-1997 turned out to be a successful campaign for Klos and his side. Although they only finished third place in the German Bundesliga, there was a much bigger prize awaiting them at the end of the season.
Klos would again be at the forefront of another European pursuit, which would be one that concluded with silverware. Borussia Dortmund progressed in second place behind Atletico Madrid in the group stages, as the German and Spanish giants swept clear of European minnows Widzew Lodz and Steaua Bucharest.
Borussia Dortmund won convincingly in the first leg of their quarter-final tie against defending French Ligue 1 champions Auxerre. He kept a clean sheet in the reverse fixture as Dortmund grinded out a 1-0 win in France to secure their spot in the semi-finals.
Manchester United, who boasted the attacking talents of Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Andy Cole, awaited Die Borussen. It was a tough tie, which was subsequently won by Borussia Dortmund by a narrow margin in both legs.
The attacking talents of Manchester United misfired during both legs but Klos along with his sturdy defence kept back-to-back clean sheets against a side that scored 76 Premier League goals during the 1996/97 season.
Juventus had proved to be Klos’ “bogey team” in recent years. He’d conceded 10 goals in four meetings against the Italian giants and the Turin-based team were backed to win handsomely once again. However, Dortmund had other ideas and breezed past the defending champions, after surviving a storm of attacks in the early stages.
Victory tasted sweet for Klos and he followed his UEFA Champions League triumph with the Intercontinental Cup in the tail end of 1997. He’d only spend one more season with the black and yellows due to his departure to Rangers in 1998.
His final season at the Westfalenstadion will hardly be reflected upon as a positive campaign. Klos conceded 55 goals in 34 games as Dortmund slumped to a disappointing 10th place finish. Despite their drastic decline in Germany, they managed to salvage some pride in Europe by reaching the semi-finals.
Spanish giants Real Madrid beat them 2-0 on aggregate to end Borussia Dortmund’s UEFA Champions League campaign. Despite a sour end to his spell in Dortmund, Klos remains greatly admired amongst the BVB faithful for his heroics during their domestic dominance and European triumph.
He ended his time at the club with 350 appearances and would go onto seek further success in Scotland. Klos won four Scottish Premier League titles, three Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups during his 8-year spell in Glasgow.
Various injuries subsequently signalled an end to such a successful career in 2007. Reflecting on his career, it’s unfortunate a goalkeeper of Klos’ calibre was unable to earn a single cap for Germany. He was truly spectacular and remains well loved amongst both Borussia Dortmund and Rangers.