No Mats Hummels and Thomas Tuchel rift - Borussia Dortmund CEO
Borussia Dortmund have backed club captain Mats Hummels, insisting there is no rift between the defender and coach Thomas Tuchel.
Hummels, 26, has been on the receiving end of criticism from sections of the German media after scoring an own goal in Friday's 3-1 defeat at Hamburg.
This week, the Germany international hit back at those criticising his recent form, but Bild have since alleged his relationship with Tuchel is not good and he could leave the club next summer.
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BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said the criticism of Hummels has been "excessive," and rejected the reports of a rift between club captain and coach.
"That's not the case. He's a very important player, sometimes not that low-maintenance. Above all I know that he's a decent lad," Watzke said. "He has all our support."
On Wednesday, Sport Bild also reported that Hummels could lose his captaincy, but speaking to his prematch news conference in Russia later that day, Tuchel said: "I don't see any basis for this discussion and this question."
While Hummels travelled Krasnodar for their Europa League match, attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa stayed behind in Germany.
"It's not because we think we can manage without them," Tuchel said, and explained that he rested Kagawa and opted to do without Reus and Aubameyang, who experienced muscles problems in the past days, "as a precautionary measure."
A draw at Krasnodar would seal top spot for Dortmund in Group C, and Tuchel said that he needs "players who are 100 percent fresh" to come out on top in the "most difficult match of the group stage by far."