Are Lucien Favre's days as Borussia Dortmund coach over?
DUSSELDORF - Borussia Dortmund bosses reportedly discussed the latest setback until well after midnight, and Saturday's headlines suggested that Lucien Favre's term as coach could be over very soon.
Coming off a 4-0 drubbing at champions Bayern Munich in the last Bundesliga match, Dortmund were unable to turn the tide on Friday, held 3-3 by bottom club Paderborn in another poor display in which they trailed 3-0 at half-time.
"Favre faces the sack," the Bild paper said on its website, and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said that "it's now really precarious for Favre."
The paper also said that Dortmund face "losing their most devoted fans" after the 80,000-plus crowd had mercilessly jeered their players at half-time and was only mildly reconciled after captain Marco Reus had salvaged at least a draw in stoppage time.
Sports director Michael Zorc said the first of half was "unworthy of discission" and that "we have to apologise to the spectators."
A draw in Dortmund. pic.twitter.com/QiAMdpPeav— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) November 22, 2019
He didn't want to be drawn into a coaching debate on the night or on Saturday but it appeared that Favre would at least still be at the helm for Wednesday's important Champions League match at Barcelona.
Chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke was expected to talk at Sunday's annual members meeting about the situation of Favre who conducted Saturday trainintg which started two hours late because he and the team discussed Friday's match.
Favre himself named the first half "unbelievable," adding: "We're making too many unnecessary mistakes. We were lacking aggression. It can't continue in that vein."
Reus sprung to Favre's defence when he insisted that "the coach always prepares us very well," saying only the players are to blame.
"We must apologise to everyone for this performance. I have no explanation for the first half. You felt ashamed. It was clear we had to show a reaction. We can absolutely never ever have show such a first-half performance again," Reus said.
Defender Mats Hummels also said the poor showings have nothing to do with Favre, while the 62-year-old Swiss coach said he didn't feel let down by the team.
"I stand behind my team. But of course were all disappointed. This performance is hard to explain," Favre said. "The only good thing is that we showed a reaction after trailing 3-0. But I am staying positive."
Favre was the toast of Dortmund a year ago when the team held a huge league lead. But they then slumped in February and eventually lost the title to Bayern by two points, with Favre under fire for being too cautious in his season goals.
Dortmund invested some 130 million euros (144 million dollars) in summer to further bolster their squad and declared they were out for the first Bundesliga title since 2012.
But the team has stuttered all season and could find itself in mid-table and eight points off the top by the end of the weekend.DPA