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Gotze facing 'crucial season' at Dortmund - CEO

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Dortmund boosted by Pulisic return as Gotze blames players for UCL slump

Herculez Gomez breaks down his top three young Americans making waves overseas and the keys to their continued development.

Borussia Dortmund's United States international Christian Pulisic is back in training, with his return coming as Mario Gotze said the players "were all to blame" after BVB crashed out of the Champions League.

Although the 2013 finalists, beaten 2-1 at home by Tottenham, could yet become the first side to qualify for the Europa League with just two points, their poor run of form continued.

They had led 1-0 when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended his eight-hour goal drought, but strikes from Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min condemned them to defeat.

And Gotze told Sky: "If we only knew what happened after 1-1, we'd be smarter.

"We had everything under control and then, just like in Stuttgart, we conceded right after the break. I can't explain that right now.

"We are all to blame that we lose at home to Spurs despite a 1-0 lead. This must not happen."

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Former Germany international Didi Hamann told Sky: "This was a deeply worrying performance from a dead team. I saw signs of disintegration."

Real Madrid's 6-0 win at Apoel Nicosia means that if both Dortmund and Apoel suffer defeats in their final group matches, BVB could reach the Europa League with only two points.

On Saturday, Dortmund host local rivals Schalke, second in the Bundesliga, in a key derby and have been boosted by the return of Pulisic.

They began their preparations for the Schalke game with a public training session in which Pulisic took part after missing the defeats to Stuttgart and Spurs with muscle problems.

Gotze said: "We are very well aware of the importance of the match for our Bundesliga campaign, and we also know what's at stake."

Keeper Roman Burki, stretchered off after a clash with Fernando Llorente, could return, with BVB media director Sascha Fligge saying he felt "as good as can be expected under the circumstances."

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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