Der Klassiker returns this weekend as two of German football’s biggest and most successful teams do battle to the delight of the Nigerian icon
Bundesliga ambassador and Nigeria legend Jay-Jay Okocha has expressed his delight at watching the German Clásico between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, revealing it is a clash he would have gladly paid to play in.
Bayern Munich host Dortmund at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, with the champions looking to secure a fifth consecutive league victory over their bitter rivals.
Okocha spent six years in Germany in the early nineties at the start of his excellent career, starring for Borussia Neunkirchen and Eintracht Frankfurt before leaving for Turkey in 1996.
The mercurial midfielder’s departure from the Bundesliga coincided with the beginning of one of football’s greatest rivalry, as Bayern and Dortmund have won a combined total of 22 of the 26 Bundesliga titles since then.
Okocha didn’t feature for any of the two teams, but his exploits for Neunkirchen and Frankfurt, where he scored 32 goals and created a further 19 strikes in 76 matches, sealed his legacy as one of Africa’s greatest exports to Germany.
The Nigerian icon would later star in massive rival battles for Fenerbahce, Paris Saint Germain, and Bolton Wanderers. However, he admits that those extraordinary clashes are the kinds of fixtures the best players live to play in.
“Well, it’s totally different, you know,” Okocha told Soccer Laduma.
“Anybody who tells you it’s not different is lying because this is the kind of game somebody like me will pay to play! You know, I will pay to be a part of this kind of game.
“We always prepare for every game, we prepare to win every weekend, it doesn’t matter who you are playing against, but these kinds of big matches always play in your head.
“You are constantly thinking about it because you know you are coming up against fantastic players, so you have to psyche yourself, you have to prepare yourself before these games.
“In a special way, in the best way, you can get yourself psyched up.”
Okocha, who played in the Super Eagles’ 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winning team and won the Atlanta ’96 Olympics football gold, presently works as an ambassador for Bundesliga.