Borussia Dortmund players say they have not given up hope of retaining their Bundesliga title despite falling nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich after seven matches.
The defending champions have failed to win an away match so far but, speaking two days after their 1-1 draw at Hannover, goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and midfielder Mario Gotze insisted the title race was far from over.
Weidenfeller, 32, told Ruhr Nachrichten: "We are not rewarding ourselves for hard work during our matches.
"We don't convert our performances into points. We don't have enough points for the great effort we put into our matches."
He told the paper that the current league table was only a "snapshot" and stressed that no title had ever been decided after only seven games.
"We are not nervous," he told the paper, but added that he was aware of the fact that Dortmund could not afford any more slips.
Looking ahead to the forthcoming match against Ruhr rivals Schalke, Weidenfeller said: "The [international] break is important, time take a deep breath. Wins in the derby can lift you through the season."
Meanwhile, Gotze, currently preparing for Germany's World Cup qualifiers, claimed "nobody has to worry", telling Bild: "Bayern have by no means run away. They have opened a certain gap. But why should we be afraid of them?"
But Gotze also said that it would be hard for his club to repeat their feats of last season, when they not only closed an eight-point gap but ended the season eight points ahead of Bayern.
"Every season is different. We cant't just say that we will start a winning streak again," he explained.
"But we will certainly not to go into the next games thinking that, if we lose, Bayern's lead will get even bigger. That would be the wrong strategy. We'll concentrate on our games."