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Ilkay Gundogan: No fixture congestion gives Jurgen Klopp an edge

ILKAY GUNDOGAN has happy memories of winning the league under Jurgen Klopp but is determined to deny his old boss another title this year.

The Manchester City midfielder was part of Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side that won the second of two back-to-back Bundesliga crowns in 2012.

Now, though, Gundogan is trying to chase down his old mentor’s Liverpool team as City, who applied pressure with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday, battle the Reds for the Premier League title.

The German can see similarities between Liverpool’s position at the top and that enjoyed by Dortmund seven years ago, particularly in terms of fixture congestion.

Liverpool this season no longer have any domestic knockout distractions while City are still competing in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, as well as the Champions League.

Gundogan, 28, said: ‘When you have to run in the season you don’t think about much — you go out and play. When you have no concerns in your mind you are able to win a lot.

‘That’s how I felt when we were able to win at Dortmund that title. We had an advantage of just playing Saturday, Saturday, Saturday and the week off in between.

‘He (Klopp) is in a similar situation now with Liverpool — just the Premier League and then the Champions League on top. Maybe it’s going to be an advantage for them, I don’t know.

‘It’s nothing we can change right now. They have to play their games and we have to play ours.’

Gundogan is in the rare position of having won titles under both Klopp and Guardiola, and added: ‘They are different in terms of playing style and their characters, but both of them are great people, great human beings.’

■ 28 – Bundesliga appearances Gundogan made under Klopp in 2011/12 – his first season at the club – as Dortmund won the title