Okocha backing Bellingham to drive Dortmund's bid to topple Bayern
Nigerian legend Jay-Jay Okocha has backed Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham to lead the Bundesliga title challenge to defending champions Bayern Munich this term.
The new German top-flight campaign gets under way on Friday as Bayern take on Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
And former Frankfurt favourite Okocha believes Dortmund have a good chance of challenging the Bavarian giants, thanks to their England ace.
Okocha, 48, said: "I like Jude Bellingham. He has shown that he is a great talent, and it might be business as usual for him this season as he did so well last year. I expect him to carry on from where he left off.
"I like that the club are showing faith in him. It would be nice for them to keep him as long as they can because it’s always a threat for a club to have such a young talent.
"I hope that other clubs can compete a bit more this season because it’s getting a bit boring having Bayern’s name written on the title every season.
"Hopefully they [Borussia Dortmund] will have the belief which I have seen in their recent form, the belief that they have a good enough squad to challenge this season."
The main Mane
Despite Dortmund's attempts to close the gap at the top, there is no doubt that Bayern have strengthened during the summer transfer window.
Fresh from sealing their 10th consecutive league crown, the Bavarian giants signed Dutch defensive colossus Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus, while also securing the services of Senegalese star Sadio Mane from Liverpool.
And Okocha has no doubts that the Africa Cup of Nations winner will find his feet quickly.
He said: "He is an outstanding football player and I have no doubt that he will do well in the Bundesliga.
"He has joined a very strong Bayern side that is always up there competing in the Champions League and regularly win the title, I think for 10 years in a row now.
"The only advice I can give him is to try and learn how to speak German as soon as possible because it's always important to try and be able to communicate."
Life after Lewa
With Polish goalscoring phenomenon Robert Lewandowski having left the Allianz Arena this summer, and Erling Haaland exiting Dortmund to join Manchester City, the race to secure the Golden Boot is wide open.
Mane will no doubt be competing for the personal accolade, but Okocha did not want to put a name on who can walk away as the league's top scorer come the end of the campaign.
He added: "Robert Lewandowski has dominated the league when it comes to goalscoring in the past decade. It's difficult to see who will follow suit because he’s been consistent like no other that I have seen in the Bundesliga.
"Maybe Christopher Nkunku might have a go with RB Leipzig this season but it's important who you are playing with, that you are getting the right service.
"[Erling] Haaland as well has left who was Lewandowski’s main competitor, so it will be interesting to see who can take over this season, I am looking forward to seeing as well like everyone else."
Okocha spent four glorious Premier League seasons at Bolton, catching the eye with his array of skill and flair.
And he is now backing compatriot Taiwo Awoniyi to have a similarly impressive impact on the English top flight.
Awoniyi, 24, scored 20 goals in all competitions for Union Berlin last term before securing a move to Nottingham Forest for a club-record £17million.
When asked about the qualities that Awoniyi can bring to Steve Cooper's outfit, Okocha said: "I think his work ethic, he is somebody that gives 100% even if he is having a bad day.
"His performances at Union Berlin earned him the right to come to the Premier League and I have no doubt that he will give it a good go.
"I don’t think there is a lot expected of him because he was not that well known before coming to Forest and for me, I see that as an opportunity for him to make a name for himself in the Premier League.
"How well he will do will depend on how the rest of the team plays for him."