Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke has told Sport Bild his club has concerns that Germany coach Joachim Low has an issue with BVB players.
On Tuesday, the leading German tabloid Bild ran a piece headlined: “Is Low down on Dortmund?” The question was raised after an interview with Mats Hummels was published in kicker on Monday in which the player suggested he had been singled out by the Germany boss.
The Dortmund centre-back recently lost his place to Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng and Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker for the World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Faroe Islands. The pair were praised for keeping clean sheets in both games, but BVB coach Jurgen Klopp mocked the standard of the opposition.
In the kicker interview, Hummels then said: “It might be that criticism against me is more direct and plain. I don’t have any problem with being criticised. I am my own biggest critic.”
The defender, who came under fire during the Euro 2012 semi-final defeat to Italy and then again in August’s 3-3 draw with Paraguay, said his forthright attitude may be a problem.
“At the DFB, criticism is not well received,” he said. “That’s okay. I don’t think it’s bad when I am criticised; in return, I raise my hand when I think something is not perfect. But I can’t remember bigger controversies.”
He said that the emergence of several top German players from the Dortmund team had led to the first “major changes” to the national side since Low took charge in 2006 and added: “Everyone has to adapt to it.”
Hummels also said that communication with Low was still “very good and pleasant”, but the suggestion of a row between Dortmund and Germany was reignited.
Watzke told Sport Bild that, in the future, the club would examine Low’s statements about BVB players to determine whether his criticism had been objective and fair.
He continued: “We don’t want to get the feeling -- or intensify the feeling -- that our players are less appreciated or have less protection from the national team coach than players from Bayern, Real Madrid or Arsenal.”
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added in Bild: “It is striking that BVB received public criticism. We have recently met with [Germany team manager] Oliver Bierhoff and had a sensible exchange of arguments. We have a good working basis with the national team.”
For his part, Bierhoff stressed that Dortmund players had not in any way been singled out, saying: “We treat all players the same. It does not matter which club they play for. Preconceptions do not exist in the Germany team.”
Low, meanwhile, is set to attend Dortmund’s Champions League clash against Marseille and has announced that he will meet Klopp in the near future to end the controversy.