Bayern Munich target Mats Hummels to captain Dortmund in DFB Pokal final
Mats Hummels will captain Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal final, the club's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said while adding that he can't say more about the Germany international's future amid strong links with Bayern Munich.
Hummels, 27, has been strongly linked with a return to Bayern, the club he left as a 19-year-old in 2008.
The Dortmund captain has said that he is losing sleep over his difficult decision, and both clubs have confirmed that a transfer to the Allianz Arena is an option.
According to media reports in Germany, Bayern have offered Hummels a four-year deal.
In the last domestic match of the 2015-2016 season, Dortmund and Munich will meet in the DFB Pokal final in Berlin on May 21.
Speaking at the traditional handover of the trophy in Berlin on Wednesday, Watzke refused to discuss Hummels' future beyond that date.
"He will lead the team onto the pitch as the captain in the cup final. That's all I can say," he told reporters at the side of the handover.
But Watzke also said that Dortmund's resurgence in recent years, only interrupted during the final year under Jurgen Klopp last term, made Dortmund players more interesting for their Bavarian competitors.
He said: "We've realised that the closer we get to Bayern the more difficult it gets to keep our squad together. But it's like that, you have to accept it."
Hummels has one year left on his deal at Dortmund, and Watzke reiterated that Dortmund have the upper hand in the negotiations with Bayern.
He said that should Hummels want to leave the club "they will either have to dig deep into their pockets or not."
On Thursday, kicker reported that Dortmund do not want the transfer saga to drag on until the cup final and hope to announce a decision as early as this week.
Hummels would only be the fifth player to directly join Bayern from Dortmund, following in the footsteps of former Germany internationals Thomas Helmer and Torsten Frings, and his former teammates Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski.
The Germany international could be one of several players leaving the Westfalenstadion in the summer.
On Wednesday, local outlet Der Westen reported that centre-back Neven Subotic could be headed to Liverpool, where he would reunite with his old boss Klopp, who trained him at FSV Mainz and Borussia Dortmund. Under new BVB coach Thomas Tuchel, Subotic has dropped down the pecking order.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.