Dortmund chairman reaches out to fans over Tuchel departure | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 30.05.2017
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Dortmund chairman reaches out to fans over Tuchel departure

Dortmund's chairman has written an open letter to the club's supporters explaining the decision to part ways with coach Thomas Tuchel. BVB have stressed that it had nothing to do with a reported rift between the two men.

In an open letter to Dortmund supporters published on the club's website just hours after Thomas Tuchel's dismissal on Tuesday, the chairman, Hans-Joachim Watzke (pictured above), sought to explain the decision without going into much detail.

Watzke conceded that the club had met all of their sporting goals over the past season - by finishing in third place and thereby directly qualifying for the Champions League group stage - as well as winning Saturday's German Cup final. He also thanked Tuchel and his staff for their role in leading the team through such a successful, but also turbulent season, which included a bomb attack on Dortmund's bus prior to a Champions League quarterfinal match last month.

'Criticism and incomprehension'

Watzke acknowledged that given this success, the decision to let Tuchel go "has been met by some of our fans with criticism and incomprehension." However, he also noted that the board's decision could not be driven by success on the field alone.

In what appeared to be a reference to a rift that between himself and Tuchel, which became apparent after the club's decision to agree to the rescheduling of the Champions League match for just a day after the attack on the team bus, Watzke spoke of a need for "reliability and loyalty" at the club. He said that with the personnel situation as it had been a few hours earlier, the board no longer felt that there was a basis to move ahead in a climate of trust.

Finally, he argued that the decision was made in the best interest of the club.

"Since I have been in positions of responsibility for Borussia Dortmund, I have always put the well-being of BVB above everything else," he said. The letter also said that the club would provide no further details on the reasons behind the move.

Concern about a backlash?

The open letter seems to be an indication that Watzke and members of the board are concerned about a possible backlash from a significant number of BVB supporters over Tuchel's sacking, which came just two days after it was all smiles in Dortmund's city center, as everybody involved with the club celebrated the Cup win with their fans.

For his part, Tuchel was the first to make the news official on Tuesday, announcing his departure via his freshly opened Twitter account.

"I am grateful for two pleasant, eventful and exciting years," he wrote. "Too bad that it won't continue."

There was no immediate word on who would replace the 43-year-old Tuchel, who had taken over at the Signal Iduna Park in the summer of 2015 and had a contract that would have taken him through the end of next season.  However, there has been some speculation that Nice and former Gladbach coach Lucien Favre could be in the running, or possibly Fiorentina coach and former Dortmund player Paulo Sousa

Tuchel's destination also remains a mystery for the time being, however there have been rumors that Bayer Levekusen could be interested. There had also been speculation that Arsenal were interested in acquiring the services of the German coach, but if some British media are right, that job is off the table, as they have reported that Arsene Wenger is about to sign a new two-year contract with the Premier League club.

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