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'Grateful' Watzke filled with gratitude for Bayern Munich after Hummels deal

21:10 SAST 2019/08/01
Mats Hummels Borussia Dortmund
The Germany international has returned to his former club following a trio of titles with the Bavarian giants, becoming the latest BVB man to return

Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has thanked Bayern Munich counterpart Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for letting Mats Hummels return to Signal Iduna Park.

The Germany international has returned to his former club for a second spell following his time with the Bavarian giants, after the two Bundesliga rivals agreed a deal in June.

The 30-year-old, who won three successive top-flight crowns at the Allianz Arena, came through their junior ranks before signing for Dortmund in 2008, where he also won two titles and reached the final of the Champions League in 2013, coincidentally losing to Bayern.

Despite his integral role in the club’s recent fortunes however, Rummenigge was still willing to sanction the experienced centre-back's exit when he indicated a wish to return to BVB, who finished only two points off first last season.

"I am very grateful to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for having respected the player's will," Watzke told DPA. "I thought that was extraordinary.

"The way in which these negotiations ended was an indication to me how respectfully we are working together at the highest levels."

Central defender Hummels is not the first player to return to Dortmund in recent years, with Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa and Mario Gotze having also returned to the club following spells away, though he will at least hope to avoid the pitfalls of mixed form that has dogged the trio.

The former pair have struggled to make much of an impact in their sophomore stints, while Gotze has had ups and downs since a 2016 reunion, but Watzke has insisted that this latest case is a different beast

"Nuri, Shinji and Mario struggled at their new clubs," he said.

"Mats was an absolute star player at Bayern, who won three championships there in three years and was recently voted the strongest centre-back in the league."

Dortmund and Bayern meet in competitive action this weekend when they compete for the DFL-Supercup on August 3, with both hoping to claim early bragging rights over the other.

BVB subsequently kick off their new Bundesliga campaign with a trip to Augsburg on August 17 while their rivals face Hertha Berlin the day before.