Munich - There are few CVs in world football which stand up to that of Ottmar Hitzfeld. A man who's done it all on the club football circuit, the 63-year-old remains one of only three coaches to have guided two different clubs to victory in the UEFA Champions League or its predecessor, the European Cup (Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and FC Bayern Munich in 2001).

With such invaluable experience and insider knowledge of Europe's most prestigious club competition, who better to offer his opinions on the forthcoming round of Champions League fixtures involving FC Bayern, Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 than the man himself. Herr Hitzfeld, what’s been behind the Bundesliga trio’s Champions League success so far?

Ottmar Hitzfeld: All three clubs have matured. Dortmund gained plenty of experience last season and want to do better than they’ve done in the last two years in the Europa League and Champions League. BVB will definitely give it a good go. At the same time, Schalke have made great steps and are incredibly stable. They've even managed to integrate young players. They've continuously recast and improved the squad. A few years ago they didn’t have much substance on the bench. ...and Bayern?

Hitzfeld: Nothing much needs to be said about Bayern. They’re the cream of the crop. The defeat to BATE Borisov came at the right time. Wake-up calls don’t do anyone any harm. Bayern have got so much quality in their squad, nothing will go wrong in the group stage. Dortmund have played with unbelievable self-belief in the so-called ‘group of death’. Where’s that come from?

Hitzfeld: Dortmund worked for it in the first game against Ajax, where the little things went their way and got them off to a great start. The win had the desired effect. The Dortmund players are hungry to achieve something in the Champions League. For now, the 2-1 win over Real Madrid is the high-point and Dortmund are in a great position in the group. They haven’t made it yet, but it’s looking good. It’s not much different for Schalke. Three games, seven points. That’s exceptional...

Hitzfeld: The opening game set Schalke on the right path. The win in at Olympiacos gave them the necessary foundation. Since then, their development has been outstanding. They don’t hide - it’s their stability that’s so impressive. If they come up against compact opposition, they don’t panic, but instead come again with a different tactical approach. The Royal Blues’ performance doesn’t surprise me. Does Europe now have more respect for the Bundesliga?

Hitzfeld: All in all, the Bundesliga has developed really well and remains well-balanced. You can see how competitive it is, and that goes for the teams in mid-table too. Success in the Champions League and Europa League can only raise the Bundesliga’s status in Europe. Will the German teams all progress in the Champions League then?

Hitzfeld: You can't be sure. Slip-ups happen quicker than you think. Bayern found that out in the Bundesliga against Bayer Leverkusen. It only takes a ten-percent drop in concentration. All the teams in the Champions League are so strong that, on a good day, they can beat anyone. They’re well placed, but Bayern, Schalke and Dortmund mustn’t let up. After the sensational home win against Real Madrid, BVB are aiming to do it all again away. Can they top it?

Hitzfeld: Dortmund have nothing to lose. You remember games at the Estadio Bernabeu for years to come - it’s the highlight of your career. Dortmund showed in Manchester that they can quickly adapt and play on the counter. That’s their speciality and why I think Dortmund have a good chance in Spain - because Madrid’s playing style suits them. Two weeks ago, Schalke ended Arsenal’s home run. Can they get a repeat result at the Veltins-Arena?

Hitzfeld: Arsenal are not the force they were two or three years ago. Still, it will be an intense game. It could go either way. Schalke will build from the back. That’s coach Huub Stevens’ hallmark. With patience and the right tactics, they again have a good chance. And Bayern? They weren’t convincing in Lille. Will we see an improved performance in Munich?

Hitzfeld: Bayern were under pressure in Lille after the defeat to BATE Borisov. You could see that in the players. Therefore, more emphasis was placed on defending rather than going all-out attack. It was a hard-fought win and was all about the result. That was important. Munich will dazzle once again at the Allianz Arena, of that I'm sure. There’ll be no slip-up against Lille.

Interview by Michael Reis