Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that he dropped star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubeyang from Wednesday's Champions League game for 'internal reasons.' He trained with the team on Thursday.
Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel dropped striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Wednesday's Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon due to what he described as 'internal reasons.'
The Gabon striker was widely expected to play in the European tie - Dortmund's own website had him in their "expected lineup" article on Tuesday – yet when the team sheets were published an hour before kickoff Aubameyang was neither in the starting 11 nor on the bench.
Speaking to pay-TV station Sky Sport (Germany), Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said that the decision to omit the striker from Wednesday's squad was for "internal reasons" and was made by the coach. Tuchel then told Sky prior to kickoff that the player was suspended for a single day.
Dortmund went on to beat their Portuguese opponents by a solitary goal coming from replacement forward Adrian Ramos as they qualified for the Champions League last 16. But the hosts spent much of the night clearly missing the striker who has netted 10 goals in 13 games this season.
"It was an internal measure that was necessary from our point of view," insisted Tuchel in the post-match mixed zone at the Signal-Iduna-Park. "With today's game the suspension is over."
The Dortmund coach confirmed that the decision was taken on Tuesday afternoon, before adding: "It is a measure that has been taken internally, was necessary and is now complete."
Reports have said Aubameyang broke a team curfew by flying to Milan for a party. Photographs have appeared on Instagram but the club have not confirmed the story.
Despite social media speculation to the contrary, Aubameyang was in attendance in the stands on Wednesday, looking comfortable with a friend and his brother.
He is expected to play in Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Hamburg but the apparent row with Tuchel will increase rumors that he wants to leave the club.