Axel Witsel is primed for another title challenge with Borussia Dortmund in 2019/20. - © 2019 Getty Images
Axel Witsel is primed for another title challenge with Borussia Dortmund in 2019/20. - © 2019 Getty Images

Axel Witsel on Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz, and Borussia Dortmund's title chances

Borussia Dortmund's Axel Witsel has welcomed the signings of Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz, and believes the trio only improve BVB's chances of winning silverware next season.

Dortmund fell just short of Bundesliga glory in 2018/19, finishing two points behind record champions Bayern Munich in a thrilling title race they led for long periods of the season and was only decided on the final day.

Determined to go one better next term, the club have already wrapped up deals for Germany midfielder Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Witsel's Belgium international teammate Hazard (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Germany left-back Schulz (Hoffenheim).

"We're stronger now we've got Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz," Witsel told German daily BILD.

"I played against Brandt in Leverkusen, it was hard work. I'm delighted for Thorgan, too; he's only going to get better, but they're all good transfers. We need them, and perhaps there are more on the way."

Witsel (r.) says the best of Belgium and new Dortmund teammate Thorgan Hazard (l.) is yet to come. - imago images / Sven Simon

Witsel was himself a marquee Dortmund signing when he joined BVB from Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian in summer 2018. The 30-year-old went on to make a telling contribution to the Black-Yellows' title challenge, amassing the most minutes of all outfield Dortmund players (2873 across 33 games) and finding a man with a league-best 94 per cent of his attempted passes.

Although he was unable to add to his league title triumphs with former clubs Standard Liege and Benfica in Belgium and Portugal respectively, Witsel says there were plenty of encouraging signs and is confident Dortmund can win trophies in 2019/20.

"We gave away too many points during the second half of the season, but we're a young team," he explained. "It was still a positive experience because we played a brilliant season. Nobody expected it from us. Now we have to learn from the experience."

Watch: How Axel Witsel made Dortmund tick in 2018/19

Witsel's pursuit of silverware resumes in the season-opening 2019 Supercup on 3 August, when Dortmund host double-winners Bayern at the Signal Iduna Park. BVB are in DFB Cup first-round action the following weekend, with the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign kicking off a week later on 16 August. The 2018/19 Bundesliga runners-up also have UEFA Champions League group stage football to look forward to.

"We want to play an even better season next term," said Witsel, whose Dortmund team exited the DFB Cup and Champions League in the round of 16 last term. "We've got young players, but experienced guys, too. You need that in a title race.

"We can win titles and cups, anything is possible!"