Reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are plotting yet another transfer from Dortmund.
This time, it is Dortmund's captain, Mats Hummels. According to the Sun, the 27-year-old has stated his desire to join former teammates Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski at Munich.
Regarded as one of the best central defenders in the world, Hummels has been rock solid in defence for Dortmund and provided great leadership in their rise and bid to challenge for major honors.
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Hummels joined Dortmund from Bayern in 2008. Little did the Bavarians know, he would turn into a world class player. However, his former employers are back for his signature.
Bayern have a history of poaching players from Dortmund. German midfielder Torsten Frings started the trend by making the move in 2004. More recently, Bayern have snatched up another two key players from BVB.
Mario Gotze was Bayern's first big acquisition from Dortmund after the two teams faced off in the 2013 Champions League final and would be joined by Robert Lewandowski 12 months later.
The pair joined Bayern in order to win more trophies and play alongside some of the biggest stars in football such as Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and several others, making it very difficult for their former side to entice them to stay.
Dortmund aren't the only German side who have struggled to ward off interest from the German giants. Even Manuel Neuer, now considered the best keeper in the world, was transferred from Schalke in 2011.
This trend has created a monopoly in the Bundesliga, where Bayern seem to be involved in a one-horse race, leaving the chasing pack scrambling for the scraps.
Bayern have won the last three German league titles and by some margin. In the 2012-2013 season, Bayern collected a total of 91 points, a staggering 25 points ahead of second-place Dortmund, who had lost star player Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United.
At that point, both Gotze and Lewandowski were still at Dortmund, proving Bayern already possessed a really strong team.
The following season, with Gotze added to their ranks, Bayern amassed 90 points, 19 ahead of their closest contender.
Last campaign, Bayern faced a tougher battle but still won the league by a distance, finishing with 79 points, with Wolfsburg behind them on 69. Lewandowski made a telling contribution with an impressive 17 goals in 31 appearances during his first term with the Bavarians.
Bayern's current transfer policy is not just about improving their own squad, but weakening the teams competing against them.
Bayern are in pole position to win the league for the fourth-straight year, with Dortmund five points behind. But one of the most shocking aspects of the Bundesliga this season is the distance between the top two and the rest.
Third-placed Leverkusen are an astonishing 20 points behind Dortmund, with the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach, Hertha Berlin and Schalke even further back, such is the disparity in quality in the Bundesliga right now.
Disparity in wealth and talent
A few seasons ago, Germany were handed four spots in the Champions League, with Italy stripped of a spot as a consequence.
But, when the inequality in power in the Bundesliga is taken into account, only Dortmund and Bayern can truly have a meaningful presence in Europe's elite competition.
Even between these two teams, Bayern seems to be substantially better equipped to challenge the big teams in Europe, due to their financial power and impressive personnel.
Dortmund have been revived under the management of Thomas Tuchel with emerging players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan consistently performing at a high level. Meanwhile, star player Marco Reus has been able to stay fit this season and has been a constant threat.
However, if Bayern are able to snap up Hummels during the summer, Dortmund will be dealt another huge blow in their bid to compete with Bayern in the league, as well as the other big teams in Europe.
This has resulted in a lack of competition in the league and lesser German teams are unable to compete on an equal level to that of Bayern or other big teams in Europe.
In order for this situation to change, other German sides need to hold on to their big players. Dortmund's Marco Reus and Wolfsburg's Julian Draxler are two names yet to be lured in by Bayern but it's worth assuming they will be among their top transfer targets in the future if they previous actions are anything to go by.
If Hummels can resist making the move this summer, Dortmund will have a fair chance of continuing their exquisite form into the next campaign. If not, the Bundesliga might be heading towards a downward spiral where Bayern are the only team capable of competing at the top level.
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