One was born in a small town to the north of Barcelona, the other in Madrid. Sergio Gómez has been based in Dortmund since January, while Achraf Hakimi is on loan from Real Madrid for two years. One is the youngest member of the squad at 17 years of age, the other, only 19 himself, participated in the World Cup with Morocco.
Achraf (pronounced: "Ashraf") Hakimi plays international football for his parents' homeland. "It was a wonderful experience. It is a dream for every child to play for their national team at a World Cup. I learned much from playing against great teams such as Portugal or Spain, but Iran had a strong team too."
Full-back Hakimi – "For Morocco I play on the left, while I play on the right here, but if the manager wants me on the left, I'm ready to do so" – proved himself to be well-informed about his new club during a media roundtable: "I knew a lot about Dortmund. A large club with a grand history in Europe and globally. Dortmund represents a difficult opponent for many teams in the Champions League. For that reason too I am happy to be here." He has already been to the Signal Iduna Park. In September 2017 he was included in the 18-man Real Madrid squad that would finally land victory away at BVB at the seventh time of asking (3-1). "I was in the stadium then. It was unbelievable! I have also watched a lot of games on television. These supporters are among the best in the world."
While Hakimi is still waiting to make his debut in front of the Yellow Wall, Sergio Gómez already has his behind him in the form of two brief appearances: "The coming year is important for my targets. I want to play as many minutes as possible and earn the coach's trust."
The two boys from Spain are also helping one another, overcoming the language barrier together and are both learning German. In this regard, Gómez already has a six-month advantage: "I have been taking lessons since I arrived. The language is hard, though, but I am making a huge effort."
"We have a good relationship", reported the 17-year-young midfielder. Hakimi added: "We are young and must adjust to the country and the club. The overriding priority is to integrate into the team. After that come the culture and the city, which are both very different to the country from which we originate." Gómez determined in his first six months in Germany that "it is not very easy to adapt to a new environment. The team have helped me to integrate a lot. The greater temperature extremes are hard to deal with compared with Spain."
But is there no risk of a falling out, despite their closeness, when the "Clásico" is due to be played in Spain, the duel between Real Madrid, for whom Hakimi played for 12 years, and Barcelona FC, whose kit Gómez wore for eight years? Hakimi laughs: "It will certainly be a great game, and hopefully we will watch it together. The better team should win." Gómez chips in: "Yes, we will enjoy that exceptional match."