In The Talking Game we catch up with players, coaches, staff, agents and almost anybody who has a part to play in the beautiful game. From Fabio Cannavaro, Ian Rush, Daniel Sturridge to Mr. Tony Stones, the grounds manger at Wembley, The Talking Game has spoken to them all. In this edition, editor Aditya Balaram interviews former Borussia Dortmund defender Patrick Owomoyela.
Patrick Owomoyela began his senior career with Lüneburger SK in the lower echelons of German football. Three years on, he was playing in the 2. Bundesliga with Arminia Bielefeld and helped the side earn promotion to the top tier a year later. His performances caught the attention of high flying Werder Bremen with whom he spent three seasons. Owomoyela then made the switch to Borussia Dortmund in 2008 and stayed with the Ruhr side for five seasons. He also managed to earn eleven caps for the German national team.
In this edition of The Talking Game, Owomoyela tells us about his time at Bremen, his future in football and World Cup 2014.
1. You’ve played all over Germany at the club level. Where did you enjoy playing the most?
Owomoyela: The best stadium in my opinion is the Dortmund Stadium (Signal Iduna Park). I always enjoyed playing there whether for or against Dortmund! It’s simply stunning to play in front of 80,000 people.
2. In your first season with Werder Bremen, you came very close to winning the Bundesliga title. What did Bremen lack in comparison to Bayern Munich that year?
Owomoyela: Not much! But even though Werder won the Championship and Cup in 2004 the team was developing and not on the same level as Bayern Munich!
3. Your first game for Bremen was against your former club Arminia Bielefeld and you came on as a substitute in that game with Bremen leading 3-2. Could you run us through what went on in your head over those last ten exciting minutes?
Owomoyela: It’s always great to play against your ex-team! It’s something special. I was very nervous, I remember. First game in my new home and against my old friends, but it felt great!
4. The last season you spent with Bremen was plagued with injuries. Were there any worries that this might affect the possibility of moving to another big club, especially since you were already 28?
Owomoyela: I always try to stay positive and don’t worry too much about things I can’t really change or control.
It’s hard enough to go through rehabilitation without worrying about the future! That’s something I learned during that time.
5. Was it very difficult to move from the Thomas Schaaf style of play to the Jürgen Klopp style?
Owomoyela: Not difficult. Every time you change clubs there’s usually a different style of play too!
Plus I see myself as a very versatile player who can adapt to many styles and positions on the pitch!
6. Which season with Borussia Dortmund would you consider to be your most successful?
Owomoyela: The 2009/10 season was easily my best! My statistics where the best in the league as both left and right backs! I delivered 8 goals and scored a few myself. It was a fun season and I can say I was an important part of the best defense in the league that year. We even reached the continental level by finishing 5th. And that after a hard couple of years for the club and when nobody really expected it.
7. Will we be seeing you man the right side of defense of any other Bundesliga side anytime soon? What plans do you have for the future?
Owomoyela: I’d really love to play! Since I wasn’t able to play for the first team in the 2012/2013 season due to injury( which I have fully recovered from) I really have a new fire inside of me and I would really enjoy playing for 1 or maybe 2 years! When it’s not Bundesliga maybe there is a nice new challenge elsewhere in the world. That would be a great experience too!
I heard about a new format in India which sounded very interesting. I’m really open to new things!
8. Do you think that the Bundesliga has become a two horse race? Could it follow the same path as La Liga?
Owomoyela: Sure Bayern and maybe Dortmund are the biggest names at the moment but the Bundesliga is closer than you might think! Basically every team is able to win against the others. Bayern will always be at the top somewhere but not just Dortmund – Leverkusen, Gladbach and a few other teams will attack the top on a regular basis! And that is what a good league needs!
9. The German side has changed a lot since you were last part of it. Is this finally the right squad that could take Germany to World Cup glory after such a long wait?
Owomoyela: The team clearly has the potential but at the end it’s a tournament, and anything can happen! Who knows… it might be Croatia winning the title. You never no. Luck besides quality is important!
1. Hardest opponent you’ve ever played against?
Owomoyela: Ronaldinho with Barca during Group stage in the Champions League in 2005.
2. Player you idolized?
Owomoyela: Zinedine Zidane.
3. Most exciting match you ever played?
Owomoyela: Against Juventus in Italy, 2005 Champions League first knockout round.
4. Most difficult coach you’ve ever been under?
Owomoyela: Thomas Schaaf. He didn’t talk much!
TheHardTackle would like to thank Patrick Owomoyela for doing this interview and Uwe Kathmann for helping conduct the interview.