With the Bundesliga going all out to expand its footprint in India, the upcoming screening of the ‘Der Klaasiker’ between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in New Delhi is set to be a significant affair with Patrick Owomoyela in attendance.
Dortmund lead Bayern by two points going into the clash on Saturday at Munich in what is shaping to be a nail-biting title race between the two clubs. A victory for Dortmund would be a huge step towards ending Bayern’s recent domination of the league which has seen the Munich club clinch the Bundesliga title for six years in a row since 2012-13.
Dortmund have not won the league title since their consecutive Bundelisga triumphs in 2011 and 2012 with Bayern extending their dominance in some style. Bayern’s superiority in this period has not just been limited to on the pitch but off it as well with the Munich club snapping up the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels from Dortmund as well.
Owomoyela, who was part of the title-winning Dortmund squads of 2011 and 2012, believes that his former club is the place to be in the Bundesliga despite Bayern’s dominance.
“Obviously, Bayern will be able to pay a bigger salary but, in the end, when it comes to that, I think it's not really the most important thing. Many players find the environment they have at Borussia Dortmund very pleasing and I think it's the more exciting club even though the bigger name is Bayern Munich,” Owomoyela told Goal in an exclusive chat.
“You have to give them (Bayern) that - they did really good work in the last decade, but Dortmund don't have to shy away from that.
“They (Dortmund) do a very good job, especially in developing young players. To create their own legacy, I would say Dortmund is the best place to be in the Bundesliga. We have to be successful in terms of being able to compete not just for the title but for the best players.”
At a time when many European clubs are expanding their footprint in the growing Indian market for football, Owomoyela is confident that Dortmund will soon establish its presence in the country.
“I know that Borussia is looking for a partnership in India, but it has to be the right partner. It has to be [done in] the right way with the right approach. It's all about how you develop football from a very young age. So, it's all about youth development. These things are figured out at the moment and I think there will be an entry into the [Indian] market,” he explained.
“That would be a really great thing and I think it's in the making,” he added.
While he might not have featured in the World Cup, Owomoyela made 11 appearances for the German national team over the course of his playing career and featured in the 2005 Confederation Cup.
Germany’s early exit in the 2018 World Cup in Russia has seen coach Joachim Low take some drastic steps lately with defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng along with Thomas Muller axed from the international setup.
The move has divided opinions amongst fans and former players and while he might not agree with the timing of it, Owomoyela believes Low’s decision should be respected.
“You have to agree with the coach or at least be able to accept the decisions the head coach takes for the team. When he feels it is the time or his way of approaching things, if he wants to cut some older players and go for a fresher start, then that's his decision,” the former Germany defender stated.
“I don't really agree with the timing. He should have done it maybe right after the tournament when everything was broken, but in the end his chair had some hits too and he had to go through a difficult time and he used these experienced players for the games that were coming up after the World Cup.
“The way he did it though, I think was respectful. He talked to the players first and it's always in his hands to decide which teams he is going to pick. So it's kind of selfish to be angry and you cannot understand the decision as a player because it is his decision and it's what is best for the national football [team] and not for individuals.”