Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says his club’s relationship with Bayern Munich is ‘as good as ever’ as the German giants continue to do battle in the transfer market.

Defender Mats Hummels is the third leading player in four years to leave Dortmund for Bayern, following Mario Gotze, who has since returned, and striker Robert Lewandowski to Munich. Midfielder Sebastian Rode moved in the opposition direction earlier this summer for a fee approaching £12million.

Watzke believes his club beat Bayern to the signing of Ousmane Dembele from Rennes this summer and, despite losing three of his best players to the club in four years, he is happy with the relationship the two enjoy.

Mario Gotze rejoined Dortmund this summer following a disappointing spell at Bayern

‘I do not know how deep the interest of Bayern was (in Dembele), but we were very early and had already discovered the player,’ Watzke told Sport1.

‘I cannot blame Bayern in this case. We had three talks with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge this year. These were very confident and professional. The relationship to Bayern is as good as it’s ever been.

‘They have established themselves on the same level as Real Madrid.

‘Accordingly, it would be stupid to say that we are attacking Bayern Munich. You should then attack if the opponent has a period of weakness.’

The two teams have led the way in German football for the much of the last decade, winning the last seven titles between them, with Bayern finishing 10 points clear of their rivals as they won the league last season.

Bayern also beat Dortmund in last season’s German Cup final, just as they did in the Champions League final in 2012-13.

The teams meet for the first time this season on November 18 in Dortmund, before the return at the Allianz Arena on April 8.

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