Last updated 1 month ago | By AFP
Thomas Mueller says Bayern Munich welcome the challenge issued by Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, who insists they want to break the Bavarian giants' eight-year domination of the Bundesliga.
Last week, Bayern were crowned German champions for the eighth season in a row with Dortmund confirmed as Bundesliga runners-up for the second straight season.
Last Saturday, Erling Braut Haaland scored twice in a 2-0 win at RB Leipzig, which confirmed Dortmund's second place.
In post-match interviews, Hummels, who spent three years at Bayern before returning to Dortmund in 2019, insisted "we want to finish one place higher next season".
Bayern stalwart Mueller, 30, who has won the Bundesliga title nine times in his career, said the champions relished hearing how they can expect another fight for the title with Dortmund next season.
"Absolutely. Dortmund have a squad that can be dangerous to us," Mueller told magazine Sport Bild.
"The competition in the past two years can be rated much higher than usual.
"I can understand Mats's comments," added Mueller who was in the same Germany team as Hummels which won the 2014 World Cup title.
"At FC Bayern, we want a competitor who stands up and says: 'Hey, by the way, we also want to become German champions'."
Dortmund were the last team to deny Bayern the title, which they managed the feat under Jurgen Klopp in 2011 and 2012, but since then the Bundesliga shield has exclusively gone to Munich.
Mueller could not resist teasing Dortmund, where leaders Bayern claimed a key 1-0 win at the end of May which allowed them to open a seven-point lead to effectively decide the title race.
"What makes it so special, after a 1-0 win in Dortmund, is that we can really, really enjoy it," added Mueller.
The attacking midfielder, who has made 529 appearances for the club since his debut in 2008/09, hopes Bayern extend their domination for the rest of his time in Munich.
"I can only talk about the next three years. This is how long my contract runs for," he added.
"I will do everything possible to make it happen.
"I have to say, from a neutral point of view, one does miss the fiercely contested title races, won in the last minute.
"But I'm not responsible for making it exciting."