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The reigning German champions' supremo has laughed off criticism of his club while admitting that local rivals die Konigsblauen have improved this season

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Hans-Joachim Watzke has expressed his annoyance at comments directed towards his team while he insists that despite Schalke's superior position in the Bundesliga, his team remain stronger.

Recently, Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness branded the Ruhr giants as nothing more than a "regional thing", much to the aggravation of Watzke who believes that the Munich-based outfit are not the only big side in Germany.

"Bavaria is not the national all-illuminating global player, and we in this country are no regional brand. That's nonsense," said Watzke in an interview with Bild.

Despite the tension between Watzke and his Bayern counterpart, he insisted that the two share a mutual respect for each other though he could not resist responding in kind to Hoeness' remarks.


"When Uli Hoeness and I cross swords, it has nothing to do with a lack of appreciation," he continued.

"The real reason that Hoeness sometimes has to use such words against us probably lies in the lack of titles in the last two seasons for his club. They are hurting over there in Bavaria apparently for what happened in the past two years. I can understand."

Jurgen Klopp's back-to-back German champions have not started the season the way they would have liked, dropping nine points after just seven games which has left them sitting in fourth position, one place below their local rivals, Schalke.

Despite the situation, Watzke is adamant that his team are still stronger than die Konigsblauen heading into this Saturday's Ruhr derby, and has dismissed talk of a changing of the guard.

"I do not care about this kind of speculation," he was quoted as saying by Sport1.

"I've always said that Schalke have a very good team. They deserve to be congratulated for this, especially for some of the younger players they have unearthed. There are some great players and it reflects well on the club. My recent comment about Borussia being still number one was based on the recent past and not the future where things may change."

Despite seeing his team sit two points behind Schalke, Watzke insists that his side will not go into the match thinking they are second best, though he admitted that the difference between the two teams has been reduced this season.

"We have never been afraid of Schalke. The clubs are very close. There is a long way to go yet. We will see where we are at the end of round 34," he concluded.

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