Last week, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had made a remark about Bayern Munich being able to “dust off the championship trophy” again after they had defeated SC Freiburg 2-1 over the weekend while Borussia Dortmund lost to RB Leipzig 2-1. That was Dortmund’s third loss of the Bundesliga season, having already lost to Freiburg and Borussia Monchengladbach prior to Leipzig. They’ve also suffered two defeats in the Champions League group stages against AFC Ajax and Bayern’s gap over their bitter rivals in the Bundesliga is now four points, with a goal difference that’s 18 goals better off.
Rummenigge had gone on to say that he still feels there’s a certain gulf in class between Bayern and Dortmund’s squads, saying that “BVB is hungry for titles. But it’s always the quality on the pitch, and Bavaria is simply ahead of the game at the moment.” Most recently, Dortmund hasn’t been aided by the long term injury to prolific striker Erling Haaland, but they’ve still fallen short in moments where they really should not have.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke recently responded to Rummenigge’s remarks, suggesting they were a little bit uncalled for. “Bayern are welcome to say that. We think differently. After Bayern went 5-0 in the cup, I didn’t hear a Dortmund man say that we were already polishing the cup or something like that,” he said (Sport Bild).
On paper, Dortmund did have a slightly easier opponent in the second round in Ingolstadt, while Bayern was a bit unlucky to have drawn Monchengladbach so early on, but it certainly doesn’t excuse away the poor performance put forth by the reigning Bundesliga champions at Borussia-Park with what was a strong starting eleven.
Watzke and Rummenigge have known each other for quite some time and as Watzke had revealed in a book he had recently written entitled Echte Liebe. Ein Leben mit dem BVB, Rummenigge often acted as liaison between Watzka and Uli Hoeness, who have never really seen eye to eye. The rivalry between the two sets of front office members really accelerated back in 2012 after Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund had beaten Bayern in the DFB-Pokal final and both Hoeness and Rummenigge had vowed to reclaim domestic dominance at Bayern from that point on. The 2013 Champions League final shortly thereafter was another milestone moment in the deeply-rooted rivalry, for which Watzke did not like how the team was then torn apart by both Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski leaving.
Even with Hoeness no longer in an official front office position, it’s safe to assume that these light hearted verbal jousts between Watzke and Rummenigge will continue, while they still maintain the utmost respect for one another.