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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang explains why he performed poorly against Benfica

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has become one of the most prolific strikers in Europe over the past few seasons at Borussia Dortmund.

The 27-year-old boasts 21 goals in 27 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit this season and has been continuously linked with moves to the Premier League and La Liga, with Real Madrid his most likely destination.

In a career that started in Italy, with AC Milan, which included four loan spells away from the club before joining Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Etienne, Aubameyang has risen from a promising young star to become one of the world's most elite strikers.

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But while it has not been easy at times for the France-born forward, Aubameyang's admirable performances in the yellow of Dortmund have forced the club to fend off interest from abroad.

However, despite the continued interest in Aubameyang from Europe's elite sides, what the Gabon international showcased on Tuesday night was woeful as he and his fellow BVB stars lost 1-0 to Benfica in the last-16 of the Champions League.

Ousmane Dembele played a precise through ball to Aubameyang in the 10th minute, but the Dortmund forward squandered the glorious chance by skying his effort high over the bar.

And the former Saint-Etienne man went agonisingly close 27 minutes later; failing to connect with a ball across the open goal mouth that would have given the German outfit the lead.

Out of luck

But if Aubameyang thought his luck would improve as the game wore on, with his side now a goal behind, he was wrong.

The forward cut a frustrated figure after blazing over yet another golden opportunity, before seeing his tame penalty saved by Ederson as the Portuguese held on for a vital 1-0 first-leg home win.

And Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel replaced Aubameyang after 62 minutes, before cutting a frustrated figure on the bench.

Aubameyang's poor form at the Estádio da Luz came as a surprise, considering the forward had netted five goals in six appearances for BVB before heading to the Africa Cup of Nations with Gabon.

AFCON fatigue

But it was that international tournament, Aubameyang claims, has led to his dip in form since his return to the Dortmund side at the end of January.

"I missed the preparation [for the second half of the season] through the Africa Cup of Nations," Aubameyang told Bild, per Goal.

"I have to admit, I'm a bit tired."

The Bundesliga's current top scorer netted twice in the first two of The Panthers' three AFCON fixtures, but a trio of draws against Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso and Cameroon was not enough to secure the host's progression to the knockout stages.

Aubameyang's focus will now be to ensure they overturn their 1-0 deficit against Benfica when the Portuguese outfit head to the Westfalenstadion on March 8. And the Gabonese forward will be desperate to make amends for his poor showing on Tuesday night.

Topics:
Roman Weidenfeller
Borussia Dortmund
Mario Gotze
Marco Reus
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Football

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