Borussia Dortmund's club philosophy that brought them from the brink of bankruptcy to the Champions League final in less than a decade has been endorsed by the CEO of their great rivals Bayern Munich.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes Dortmund's smart management has shown every Bundesliga club the way to get to the top both at home and abroad.
In 2011, six years after almost going under, Dortmund won the first of two consecutive Bundesliga titles. In 2013, they reached the Champions League final, which they lost 2-1 at Wembley due to a last-gasp winner from Arjen Robben.
While somewhat falling off the pace in the Bundesliga and struggling to reach the knockout phase in Europe this term, Rummenigge believes that Dortmund set an example for other clubs to follow.
"I like the Dortmund model," he told Sport1. "They have managed the turnaround with a very good coach, a smart philosophy and smart management.
"Dortmund not only play a big role in Bundesliga, but moreover get the greatest respect on the international stage. It is the proof that you can get to the top with a lot of hard work."
In recent months several Bundesliga clubs, with Eintracht Frankfurt CEO Heribert Bruchhagen among the forerunners, have asked for a redistribution of income generated by the Champions League teams. This, it is argued, would increase competition in the Bundesliga and close the gap between the bigger and smaller clubs.
"Dortmund do not have the same financial possibilities as locations like Hamburg, Berlin or Frankfurt," Rummenigge said, referring to the Ruhr Area -- which Dortmund share with Schalke -- and the North-Rhine-Westphalia region, which currently has four Bundesliga and five Bundesliga II clubs.
"But in spite of that Dortmund managed to get to the top," Rummenigge said. "FC Bayern Munich have great respect for Borussia Dortmund."