Borussia Dortmund's Karim Adeyemi (r.) is ready to take it to Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker. - © DFL
Borussia Dortmund's Karim Adeyemi (r.) is ready to take it to Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker. - © DFL

"It's called 'Der Klassiker' for a reason" - Borussia Dortmund's Karim Adeyemi


The importance of Der Klassiker isn't lost on Munich-born Borussia Dortmund forward Karim Adeyemi, who has told he's relishing the prospect of Saturday's showdown with Bayern, even if the title isn't on the line...

Click here for all the latest around Der Klassiker! In the last few years, Dortmund against Bayern was often first against second and now it's not like that. Why is the game still important?

Karim Adeyemi: Because it's Bayern against Dortmund. It's called 'Der Klassiker' for a reason. I think these are the two best teams in Germany and that's why everyone watches the game and for us it doesn't matter which place we are in. For us it's important that we want to get points in Munich and for that we need a good week of training, we have to play even better and we just have to enjoy ourselves."

Vote: Who will win Der Klassiker? As a Munich native, what was it like for you to be a Bayern fan as a child or not because you played for the other clubs?

Adeyemi: "I did, I can't hide it, I played for Bayern for two years from when I was eight to ten years old. At the time I was a Bayern fan. You're a kid and you support who you play for. And yes, I used to be a Bayern fan, now I'm a Dortmund fan. I became a fan relatively quickly over the years. But yes, what can I say, it's always a special game for me, coming back to Munich and playing against Bayern. I used to enjoy when I played against Bayern for Unterhaching, because they are simply the best team in and that's why you can prove yourself against them. You just look forward to this game." Lots of ticket requests from your friends I imagine?

Adeyemi: "Yes, yes, I've already gone over the allocation, but the manager will hopefully give me all the tickets." Okay, we've got a colleague who has taken a look at the game from a tactical point of view and one thing he's noticed about Bayern is that they have a certain susceptibility to counter-attacking and he has also worked out that this is something you do very, very well. In particular on the wings and really occupying those spaces a lot and so on. Is that also a key to the game in your opinion?

Adeyemi: "I would say. We try to concentrate on ourselves first and see what we can do very well, as you said. I think that's also important. In the end you look, you look at where you can hurt Bayern, I think. I think Bayern do that just as well as we do. We will see what helps us score goals and if it's counter-attacking, then we can definitely assume that you can score goals that way and in the end we just need to have a good game. We have to be aggressive, show that we're there, not be afraid and then I'm definitely convinced that we'll have a good game there and get points." How do you think you have trained in the international break and how do you feel the team is looking for the Bayern game?

Adeyemi: "Yes, relatively good. We are quite relaxed at the moment. I also think it's very important that we take it easy. We're playing against a good opponent, but we don't have to hide. In any case, as I said, it's a special game for me personally, but of course I want to win and that's the goal for all of us."

Watch: Why Der Klassiker is still Germany's biggest game What does the season still hold for you? I mean, first of all, the Bundesliga is far from over, then you're in the Champions League’s quarter-finals and you could really still achieve something.

Adeyemi: "Absolutely. In the league, you have to win all your last games and then you should see where you stand at the end. In the Champions League I've heard from a few players that from the round of 16 onwards, if you win there, anything is possible in the semi-finals. And that's why we hope or will try to win the two games against Atletico and in the semi-final, it doesn't matter who comes up, because anything is possible." It really is a statement that you are in the quarter-finals, despite everything that has perhaps been missing this season. It’s a real statement isn’t it?

Adeyemi: "Yes absolutely, the Champions League is something completely different and I think we've played a great season in the Champions League. We have played great games and that's why we don't need to hide from Bayern at the weekend." How has your season been? How would you summarise it so far?

Adeyemi: "How do I put it? Very poor, to be honest. Yeah, I can't be satisfied by any means. I can definitely expect a lot more from myself. I know that much more is possible, but sometimes it's just unfortunate. Sometimes it just doesn't work out, so I look on the bright side and tell myself that I can definitely get better now with the few goals I've scored in the last few games. I will definitely try to do that. I'll try to give it my all in every game and try to help the team. The season hasn’t been good for me personally, but yes, I still have a contract here and I'm happy in Dortmund and I hope that maybe I'll play better in the next few games now, of course, but then I'll be in good shape from the start of the next season." "It's always been one of those things that there have always been a few minor injuries with you, which of course can really throw you off, can't they?

Adeyemi: "Yes, in the Champions League, where we played against Paris, it was unfortunate, I think. Syndesmosis from a tackle is very unlucky, I think. But yes, the year before there were muscular things that could have been avoided. Definitely. But I have to work on that too, I have to get stronger and then play well consistently." You're a young player, that's the way it is. I mean, that's the development that everyone has to make.

Adeyemi: "I agree completely, but the earlier you make that development, the better it will be in the future."

Adeyemi scored twice as Dortmund won UEFA Champions League Group F, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle United. - FRANCK FIFE It was a short break for you this winter. Usually you would go on holiday, but you weren't really on holiday this time, would you describe what you did and why?

Adeyemi: "Well, it was a bit of a holiday for me, but yes. I was at the foundation I set up with my father a few years ago. We looked at how things were going and yes, made a few children happy in the two days we were there, and built a well for a small village there. But of course we also did other things for the people there. But that's mostly done by my father. I was happy to be there, unfortunately it was only 2 days, but I think I'll definitely go again this year." OK, how did the idea come about? You said you founded it together with your father. How, did that happen?

Adeyemi: "I've told that story before. When I was little I was in Nigeria with my father and I saw how people lived there. For a boy from Munich, it was different to see something like that and I told myself, I told him, relatively early on that if I make money with football, that I might want to help the people there and he remembered that. Then he reminded me years later and said maybe we could do something about it and that's why we set up the foundation and now have a football team for young people and want to make a bigger club and do lots of other things for the people who need it." Yes, a football team. Explain a bit for those who don't know about it at all. It's probably very different to playing in a team somewhere in Munich. What's it like? Where do they play, how is it organised for kids there?

Adeyemi: "It’s actually teenagers not children, but we often do invite children to train on a normal football pitch and play with each other. Our football team consists of children, teenagers between 16 and 19 or even 20. And they play in a league, which I think is the lowest division. They had to start from the bottom, but they've already played their way up a bit. Yes, and they play games there every week, train every week, have a coach who my father knows very well and who has been training for years. And yes, we support them with equipment, balls and shirts and everything they need. And we recently bought them a small bus so that they can travel to away games and they actually play in small stadiums, maybe the pitch isn't that good, but at least it's a football stadium, a normal pitch that we have there. Yes, it's often grass. Sometimes it's just a bit of dirt, but most of the children don't really have it that good and actually only play on the street or don't have football boots and that's why we do a bit, to help. We try to maybe give them a bit of what we see as normal and to give them some joy." As a footballer, how do you see the boys who play there? A lot of talent?

Adeyemi: "I've definitely seen a few players in the team where I've said… it's also because of the pitch. I'll be honest, it's not always easy to play there, but I say that if a couple of lads, if they come here at a young age and train on a good pitch and play in a good environment, then they can definitely become something. That's definitely the case. It’s something that we could also do. Bringing people from Nigeria to Europe to give them a chance." And that is, if I have understood correctly, this football team... this club is one thing, but otherwise it's also very specific help. So, you've mentioned the wells you've built, can you do that a bit?

Adeyemi: "Yes, we built a water well in a small village that my father knows and built toilets for them too. It's difficult for people now to think that they don't have toilets, but in some villages it's like that, maybe for a few hundred people they have a handful of toilets and that's just a bit difficult and maybe no running water. And I have now made that possible for them. But we also help old people with food and we also help children who may no longer have a family to spend the night somewhere. That's what we're doing right now. But yes, it's mostly about helping people. So you can put it like that, yes." OK and was your father born there in that town, or what was it like? Can you tell us?

Adeyemi: "Exactly, he was born there. He was born there and he helps the people he knows from before, the whole villages, where his mother or his father or his half-siblings, his brothers or sisters lived. In those villages, but also in villages where he doesn't know the people, simply where people need something. We help or he helps, because he's there more often than I am, and manages it a bit like that, and it actually works quite well, so as we saw it in the 2 days it was very, very nice."

Adeyemi has four senior Germany caps, as well as four at U21 level. - Pressefoto Rudel/Robin Rudel via images/Sportfoto Rudel I believe that. But that means, jumping back to when you were 10, that your trip made a big impression on you?

Adeyemi: "I was eight or nine. In any case, I had a good time there, I did. There was a football tournament, played on a normal ground with potholes in it and you just played football like that, with goals made out of shoes or jerseys. That's how you played and yes, you had fun and that day, I'll never forget that experience. I was the only one with a jersey and the others just played normally and it really amazed me how much fun they still had, maybe playing barefoot or not playing with such sturdy shoes or simply with flip flops. And yes, from then on I thought to myself, we have to do something." Do you now have the feeling that these experiences and just dealing with it, dealing with all these issues, that it also helps you as a very young person who lives in this professional football madness and it helps you to keep a good focus.

Adeyemi: "Yes, so it definitely brings someone back down to earth. You realise that there are people who don't have everything you have. Or there are people who might have your talent but never get the chance to come here to Germany and Europe to show that they can play football. That's why, when you go back there, I show everyone that they should go and see how they live there and then say thank you that they have such a good life here in Germany. But yes, that just brings you back down to earth and yes, just makes you feel grateful for what you have." What's it actually like in the team? Do you talk to some of them about what it's like and so on?

Adeyemi: "There were definitely some people who asked a few questions, but I don't think I've told them that much. But I think I told one or two of them a bit about what you can do there." Yes, fascinating. Your father, you've told me this before in an interview, he also played, mainly over there.

Adeyemi: "He always tells me that he might have been better than me, but he didn't have the chance to get here, but I don't believe that, and that's what most fathers say. He told me that he was a really fast player so I got my speed from somewhere." How did your father actually come to Munich and when. How old was he then?

Adeyemi: "He was… How old am I? 22. I think it was two years before. I don't know exactly, but he came about 25 years ago. Let's say 30 years ago. My father is 56 now, he came when he was 26, before that he spent his whole life in Nigeria. So 26 years in Nigeria, and then he just said he wanted to start a new life here."