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Former Borussia Dortmund defender Patrick Owomoyela - Der Klaasiker getting close to Schalke derby level

02:41 IST 06/04/2019
Patrick Owolomeya
The former German international believes Dortumund's rivalry with Bayern Munich is reaching a crescendo....

The Bundesliga title race is set to go down to the wire with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich fighting neck and neck for the grand prize.

Just two points separate the two sides heading into the 100th ‘Der Klaasiker’ which takes place at Munich on Saturday. It is Dortmund who have the slight advantage ahead of the pivotal clash with Lucien Favre and his men two points ahead of Bayern with nine games apiece still left to play.

Former Borussia Dortmund and Germany defender Patrick Owomoyela believes a victory for Favre’s men on Saturday could very well seal the Bundesliga title in their favour.

Owomoyela is no stranger to winning league titles with Dortmund having won the coveted trophy twice during his five-year stay with the club from 2008 to 2013.

“We have it in our own hands,” the former German international told Goal in an exclusive chat during his visit to India to attend the screening of Der Klaasiker in New Delhi.

“On the other hand, I think we are the underdogs [as] we play at their facility in Munich. So, it's always a tough task.

“Both teams have issues with injuries and have to see what teams they can present on the pitch. In the end, it will be the most important game of the season. If Dortmund can win this one, they will be five points ahead. I think that should be enough to win the title.”

While the local derby with Schalke has always been the biggest game of the season historically for Dortmund, Owomoyela feels that the Der Klaasiker is getting close to attaining the same level.

“When I first joined Dortmund, everything was about the derby against Schalke. It was the most important thing of the season. No matter what the outcome of the season was, you had to win that game, especially at home and even better if you win it there,” recalled Owomoyela.

“Over the years, it has kind of changed. The meaning of the game against Bayern got bigger because it was a real competition for the title. Still, the derby is a derby and it will stay that way. It is very important, but since the other team (Schalke) failed to really compete for titles, the focus shifted more towards the Bayern game.”

Dortmund have developed a reputation for giving the young stars in world football the perfect stage to strut their wares in recent years with Ousmane Dembele one of the names to make his mark at the club before earning a big money move to Barcelona.

This season, it has been England teenager Jadon Sancho who has lit up the Westfalenstadoin with his electric displays. Sancho’s maiden full season in the Bundesliga has already seen him attract attention from some of the biggest clubs in European football with rumours of a potential huge incoming bid in the summer gaining weight.

However, Owomoyela believes that the English youngster’s best bet to continue his meteoric development would be to stay put at Dortmund for some years to come unlike Dembele.

“I think Ousmane's was a different case. I wouldn't say that Ousmane was better or more advanced or whatever. Both are incredibly talented and Jadon is at a very high level at the moment, but he is a different kind of a guy and I think he knows that he can develop further,” Owomoyela explained. 

“He will play international football next season, he will play in the Champions League next season. He may get his first title this season. So why go for the next thing at 19 years old. These players, especially him (Sancho) as compared to Ousmane know that even he stays here (Dortmund) for another two years, he will still be 21. That's very, very young and there is so much more to come.

“I don't think he has that urge that 'I really have to be at this or that club next month or next year'. He knows that there is a phase of development leading up to that and sometimes it is better to let it grow in a sustainable way instead of rushing it there and maybe fall down from high up there.”