Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke has rubbished astonishing claims that the Bundesliga giants are prepared to throw in the towel ahead of their Champions League last-16 meeting with Juventus in February.
Rumours that the Westfalenstadion outfit are considering fielding a weakened line-up when the two sides meet in February and March have been spreading like wildfire, with Dortmund’s hierarchy in turmoil regarding the club’s future ambitions.
Despite reaching the knockout phase of the Champions League, the Black and Yellows are facing relegation from the Bundesliga, just two years after piping arch-rivals Bayern Munich to the title.
Jϋrgen Klopp’s side have slumped to ten defeats in their last 17 league games, with only goal-difference keeping Dortmund off the foot of the table.
Although the prospect of relegation is impossible, Watzke, Klopp and the rest of BVB’s hierarchy have confirmed that the “tide needs to change” of the club 2013 Champions League runners-up are to pull of the great escape.
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As a result rumours that Dortmund are prepared to field a distorted line-up for the upcoming fixtures with Juventus in order to focus on getting their Bundesliga campaign back on track are gathering momentum.
However, despite confirming that subsequent elimination from Europe would make league survival easier, Watzke has insisted that Dortmund have no intention of doing so, by stating that this decision would tarnish German football.
The 55-year-old told German newspaper Bild: “It would perhaps make many things easier when we were no longer in the Champions League, and were only able to concentrate on the Bundesliga.
However it wouldn’t only be against the rules for this competition, but it would also be a disaster for German football.”
Although the Black and Yellows have only managed to secure one victory in their last six league games, Watzke has insisted that BVB are prepared to fight to the end in order to achieve domestic survival, as well as to make a good account of themselves in other competitions.
As a result, the well-spoken and confident chairman has bellowed the club’s intention to knock Juventus out of the Champions League and to cement a place in their quarter-final.
The Marsberg-born businessman went on to say: “Which club alongside Bayern Munich have been the most successful in the Bundesliga in recent years? It is definitely Borussia Dortmund.
We also have a responsibility with German football to do our duty and to knock the best team from Italy out of the competition.”