Axel Witsel (r.) played in the same team as Mats Hummels (l.) for the first time on Borussia Dortmund's summer tour of the USA. - © ©Icon Sportswire (A Division of XML Team Solutions) All Rights Reserved
Axel Witsel (r.) played in the same team as Mats Hummels (l.) for the first time on Borussia Dortmund's summer tour of the USA. - © ©Icon Sportswire (A Division of XML Team Solutions) All Rights Reserved
bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund's Axel Witsel: "Mats Hummels is a leader!"

Axel Witsel has welcomed the return of Mats Hummels to Borussia Dortmund, and says he and the former Bayern Munich defender complement each other perfectly.

Witsel played against Hummels last season as Dortmund fought Bayern until the final day in the race for the Bundesliga title.

After BVB finished two points short of their ultimate goal, the Belgium international midfielder believes his new teammate - back for a second stint with the Black-Yellows - will be a real asset in their renewed push for honours in 2019/20.

"Hummels is a leader, and the more leaders we have the better!" Witsel told German sports specialist magazine, kicker. "You could see right from the off his influence in training and in our friendly matches.

"It's easy for me to play with him. He's technically very good. I can play the ball to him in any situation."

Hummels, 30, won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in his previous spell with Dortmund (2008 - 2016), and captained the side in his final two seasons with the club. Along with Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard, Mateu Morey and Nico Schulz, the 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning defender is one of five reinforcements the Ruhr district outfit have already brought in over the summer.

Bayern, by contrast, have been less active in the market, with Fiete Arp, Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard their only first-team recruits of the window so far.

Witsel says he "would be surprised" if the record champions didn't add to their ranks before the window closes on 2 September, but is confident Dortmund can take the fight to their rivals regardless.

"We're more experienced now," explained the 30-year-old, who played in 33 of Dortmund's 34 Bundesliga matches in his debut season at the Signal Iduna Park. "That's what we were missing down the back straight."

Watch: A reminder of how Axel Witsel makes Dortmund tick

Dortmund cross swords with Bayern as early as 3 August in the German Supercup. Last season's top two are scheduled to meet in the Bundesliga on Matchdays 11 (8-10 November) and 22 (3-6 April).

Witsel has won one (3-1) and lost one (5-0) of his two Bundesliga meetings against Bayern to date, but is determined to tip the balance in Dortmund's favour in the new season - in more ways than one.

"I really want to win the Bundesliga with Dortmund," he said. "That should always be the goal for a club like this."