The ongoing saga at Borussia Dortmund has taken another turn, with sporting director Michael Zorc dismissing speculation about Thomas Tuchel's future as "nonsense." But the coach himself hasn't been as forthright.
Speaking to press agency DPA on Tuesday, Zorc responded strongly to an interview with club CEO Hans Joachim Watzke published on Saturday, in which Watzke admitted to disagreements with Tuchel, particularly over the club's reaction to the attack on their bus last month.
With regard to the relationship between Tuchel and those in the boardroom, Zorc said that factors such as "strategy, trust and communication" will be part of Dortmund's post-season analysis, stopping some way short of rejecting the notion that these issues were problematic.
Zorc called for peace at the club and also said the widely-held suggestion that Watzke's interview, published by a number of newspapers, was designed to prepare the public for a change of coach as "nonsense." He also claimed BVB officials were surprised about the amount of publicity it generated.
Many close observers of the club have taken that suggestion with a fistful of salt. The notion that a club the size of Dortmund were surprised by the amount of publicity generated by an interview with one of their bosses is somewhat risible to some.
To muddy the waters still further, Tuchel himself gave a somewhat evasive set of answers about his future to Dutch Fox TV. Asked by the broadcaster on Tuesday whether he'd be in charge next season, Tuchel said: "I don't want to comment at the moment. I will be Dortmund coach in Augsburg [on] Saturday, that's for sure."
Several local press reports in recent days claim Tuchel will leave the club regardless of their results in the final two Bundesliga games and the German Cup final.
"The truth is that the backing for the coach within the squad is much smaller than needed for a functioning team chemistry," said the 'Ruhr Nachrichten' earlier this week.
'Süddeutsche Zeitung' wrote that it wasn't just Tuchel's relationships with executives that was problematic. They quoted an anonymous player as saying: "If the coach praises you, you should be prepared that you won't make the squad the next time."
After their trip to Augsburg on Saturday, Dortmund host Werder Bremen on the final matchday of the Bundesliga season before the cup final against Frankfurt on May 27 in Berlin.
"If we qualify directly for the Champions League and win the cup Borussia Dortmund will have had a very successful season," Zorc said. Whether their head coach will be around to enjoy the fruits of his labor remains to be seen.