Football: Dortmund boss denies talk of crisis, despite slump

Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) and Hannover goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner during the 4-2 defeat that cost Dortmund their place atop the Bundesliga table. Aubameyang, the Bundesliga's top scorer last season, has not scored a goal in
Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) and Hannover goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner during the 4-2 defeat that cost Dortmund their place atop the Bundesliga table. Aubameyang, the Bundesliga's top scorer last season, has not scored a goal in his last three games.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • Borussia Dortmund lost their status as Bundesliga leaders and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has stopped scoring, but coach Peter Bosz denies talk of a crisis ahead of today's Champions League tie against Apoel.

Dortmund face a battle to reach the knockout stages of Europe, as they trail both Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur by six points in Group H after three matches.

Defeats by Tottenham and Real, before a draw at Apoel in Nicosia a fortnight ago, have left the 2013 finalists facing a group-stage exit. All is not well in the Dortmund camp, despite what Bosz says. A 5-0 German Cup victory at third-division Magdeburg last week was their only win in their last five games.

"There was no crisis - and there is no crisis - Hannover were just more aggressive than us," the Dutchman insisted after Saturday's 4-2 defeat by Hannover saw Bayern Munich replace Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga.

Aubameyang, the Bundesliga's top scorer last season, does not have a goal from his last three games despite netting 15 times in all competitions so far this term.

Director of sport Michael Zorc said he was left "speechless" by the team's sudden dip in form.

Apoel will fancy their chances at Signal Iduna Park, where defeat will end either team's last-16 hopes.

The teams drew 1-1 in the first meeting when a blunder by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki saw Mickael Pote give Apoel a shock lead.

On Saturday, Dortmund's shaky defence was brutally exposed by Hannover, who dismantled the visitors with a series of counter-attacks.

For the third league game in a row, Dortmund's 4-1-4-1 formation left far too many holes to exploit.

The German media are blaming Dortmund's struggles on Bosz's decision to deploy a high defensive line, with balls over the top catching defenders out. They also criticised his system, which the Dutch coach continues to defend.

"The questions about the system are just an alibi," said Zorc. "It's about winning our challenges and facing the opponent in a robust way to win the second ball, that is what we are missing at the moment."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2017, with the headline 'Dortmund boss denies talk of crisis, despite slump'. Print Edition | Subscribe