Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke has sounded the war drum by insisting that there will be no further talk of relegation with the club united in turning their disappointing start to the season on its head.
The Black and Yellows travel to third place Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday with the hope of getting their season back on track having entered the traditional winter break second from bottom in the Bundesliga.
This comes after the German giants have only been able to win four of their last 17 league games, meaning that they are currently two points off safety and an eye-watering 30 adrift of Bundesliga leaders, Bayern Munich.
The war drum
No-one including Watzke ever preceded Dortmund’s shock start to the 2014/15 campaign which has seen Jϋrgen Klopp’s juggernauts become the laughing stock of Germany let alone Europe.
Indeed, the 2013 Champions League finalists hit a low on the eve of the winter break when they suffered their tenth league defeat of the season at the hands of Werder Bremen which left Klopp uttering the dreaded words that the club were in a fight against the drop.
Words of wisdom
However, words of negativity and disparity have been changed into comments of fighting spirit and hope, with everyone at the club having a month to set new morals and targets for the near year.
Both Klopp and club captain, Mats Hummels who exchanged words of disagreement in the wake of the 2-1 defeat away to Bremen have heralded the team for showing determination and a change in attitudes during their winter training camp in Spain.
Indeed, Watzke who himself has also noticed a swift change in attitudes has praised both the 47 year old manager and the team for sorting out their differences in the attempt to catch up lost ground in their domestic pursuits.
Ahead of Dortmund’s trip to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday Watzke told German newspaper Bild: “The situation is simple. Leverkusen will be the favourites for the game.
Although I feel that we are very focussed and ready for the task ahead. Jϋrgen Klopp and the whole team have done wonders.”
Although the 55-year-old accepts that the race for the title might be over, the Marsberg-born businessman insists that Dortmund could still finish in a favourable position come the end of the season, but they will need to be patient in their objectives.
Still hope left
The enthusiastic chairman went on to say: “In the remaining 17 games there is the potential to obtain a maximum of 51 points. We won’t be able to travel to the third best team in the league and assert our dominance though. We have to set targets, and will achieve them.”
One thing which will definitely be banned from the locker-room when the Black and Yellows kick start the second half of the season is any talk of potential relegation, with Watzke also ensuring that this will be the same for the staff and board as well.
When asked whether he would feel obliged to hold a formal meeting with the players if the situation worsened, Watzke firmly ended the interview with the German newspaper by stating that such a talk will never come into existence.
He told Bild: “There will never be such a talk. If I was going to sanction a talk then that would be catastrophic for the morals of the team.”