Berlin: Germany`s Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are riding high as they return to Champions League action this week, but relations between the Bundesliga giants` bosses are at an all-time low.
Pep Guardiola`s Bayern fought back to secure a 2-1 win over Dortmund in Munich on Saturday.
Borussia are now second from bottom in the table as they endure the worst start to a league season in the club`s history.
Like Bayern, Dortmund top their Champions League group with three straight wins and, similarly to the Bavarians, a fourth straight win will put Jurgen Klopp`s team in the last 16 of Europe when they host Galatasary on Tuesday.
Bundesliga leaders Bayern are home to Roma on Wednesday, but Dortmund left Munich`s Allianz Arena on Saturday with Borussia`s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke accusing Bayern`s chairman Harl-Heinz Rummenigge of lacking respect.
Speculation is rife as to whether Germany winger Marco Reus will take the well-worn path from Dortmund to Bayern as Borussia face the prospect of losing their top player to Bayern for the third year running.
The 25-year-old Reus is under contract at Dortmund until 2017, but Rummenigge recently publically highlighted a release clause in his current deal which would allow him to leave next June.
Bayern have lured play-maker Mario Goezte, then striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored Saturday`s equaliser for Bayern in his first game against his former club, away from Dortmund in the last two seasons.
The prospect of seeing another star quitting Dortmund for the bright lights of the Allianz Arena would clearly be a third bitter pill to swallow.
"The two clubs who have shaped German football in recent years must find a reasonable basis to work from," Watzke told Sport1`s football show `Doppelpass` on Sunday.
"I would never comment on the contract details of a Bayern player. That`s something you just don`t do.
"It`s legitimate to want to have Marco, but you don`t have to permanently make comments in the public domain about it.
"He`s our player and I expect some respect, which you can do on a certain level."
Rummenigge had previously insisted Bayern`s transfer policy is to strengthen their team rather than weaken any rivals.
"We don`t have to weaken anybody. Every transfer has exclusively one goal: to strengthen the team`s quality," Rummenigge wrote in Saturday`s match programme.
But Watzke insists Bayern have "come a long way" in weakening Dortmund after Borussia won the 2011 and 2012 German league titles, before Bayern bounced back by dominating for the last two seasons.
With nearly a third of the season gone, Dortmund are already 10 points off the pace in their ambition of a top-three finish to guarantee next season`s Champions League place.
Watzke says can potentially cope without the minimum pay out for playing in next year`s Champions League`s group phase, worth 8.6m euros (US$10.7M) this season, and he insists they will bounce back.
"We are economically so strong that we will make no compromises, we will march on and attack again," he said.
The Dortmund boss also insisted coach Jurgen Klopp has a job guarantee until his contract expires in June 2018.
While Lewandowski has backed his former club to recover and qualify for the Champions League, fellow goal-scorer Robben has no sympathy for Dortmund`s plight.
"I don`t think they`d have any sympathy for us (if the situation was reversed)," said Robben, who scored his sixth goal in six games against Dortmund.
"We don`t need to sympathise with them, they`re a top team despite their league position. I have no doubt they`ll work their way back up the table."