Berlin: Borussia Dortmund, languishing in 15th place in the Bundesliga, received an unexpected pep talk from league rivals Bayern Munich, despite icy relations between the two clubs who face each other in the league on Saturday.
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, whose team have snapped up Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund in two years and have also set their sights on Marco Reus, has been locked in a war of words with Dortmund officials for months.
Rummenigge infuriated Dortmund when he publicly revealed the amount of Reus` buyout clause at Dortmund a few months ago.
Earlier this week Rummenigge had made his latest advance for Reus, saying Bayern "could potentially be interested" in signing the talented Germany international.
The strained ties have also led to the traditional pre-game lunch between both clubs` bosses to be scrapped.
On Friday, however, Rummenigge heaped praise on Dortmund, saying the Ruhr valley club was still a heavy hitter in the Bundesliga despite their dip in form.
"Even with Borussia Dortmund facing some problems in the league, the league table does alter the importance of this game," he told the club`s magazine.
"I am certain that Dortmund will easily qualify for the Champions League this season and that is a good thing," said Rummenigge, a former Germany captain and Bayern striker.
Last season`s runners-up Dortmund, who won the Bundesliga in 2011 and the domestic double in 2012 before reaching the Champions League final in 2013, have lost six of their nine league this season and are 14 points behind leaders Bayern.
They are, however, top of their Champions League group with three wins form three games.
"German football needs stable teams and even though club bosses at both clubs have had better relations in the past, I am saying this with full conviction: I have great respect for Borussia Dortmund."
"I see Bayern and Dortmund as the engines of the Bundesliga," he said.