Lucien Favre insists he is not about to quit as Borussia Dortmund head coach despite a Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich that appeared to end their Bundesliga title hopes.

Dortmund could have closed to within a point of league leaders and defending champions Bayern with victory at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.

But Favre's side toiled after a strong start and went down 1-0 thanks to Joshua Kimmich's stunning chip.

Former Hertha Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach and Nice boss Favre has not won a league title since the 2006-07 Swiss Super League and has been criticised in some quarters for a persistent failure to deliver top prizes.

This perception was put to Favre following the Bayern defeat, and he told Sky Sport: "This has been said here for months. I know how to do it. I'll talk about it in a few weeks."

The coach's comments prompted speculation his Dortmund reign could end "in a few weeks" – a year before his contract expires – but he says he was misunderstood.

"I don't think about giving up at all," Favre said on Wednesday, as quoted by Bild.

"We were all disappointed [on Tuesday], but my words in the interview immediately after the game seem to have been misunderstood in many ways.

"The only thing I wanted to answer to relevant questions was that now is not the time to take stock of the season.

"Why? Already on Sunday, in Paderborn, we have to achieve a top performance again. We have to focus on that, nothing else."

Borussia Dortmund are hoping for positive news after Erling Haaland was forced off injured in the Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich.

The prolific teenage striker has made a spectacular splash in the Bundesliga since joining Dortmund from Salzburg in January.

He could not force a breakthrough in the top-of-the-table clash with Bayern, however.

And compounding the misery of Dortmund's 1-0 home defeat, which looks to have realistically ended their title hopes, was a worry over Haaland's right knee.

He had to be substituted after 72 minutes, moving awkwardly after stretching to meet a cross from Jadon Sancho.

Head coach Lucien Favre told a post-match news conference: "I don't think he'll be out for long. He's got a knee injury. We don't know at the moment exactly what it is."

In eight starts and three substitute appearances, Haaland has scored 10 Bundesliga goals for Dortmund.

It was a frustrating evening all round for a Dortmund team who came into the match on a six-game winning run in the German top flight.

Had their passionate supporters been able to pack out Signal Iduna Park, it might have been a different story.

Favre admitted they were missed, with the coronavirus pandemic meaning all matches in Germany are being played behind closed doors.

"Of course everyone knows that we miss our fans at the games," said Favre.

"In the second half, for example, we would have played in front of the Yellow Wall. And of course we miss that."

He refused to blame his team's 1-0 loss on the absence of fans, however, stressing his team lacked their usual clinical edge.

"We missed the penultimate and the final pass and a little bit of precision," Favre said. "And a little more movement we would have needed. The right movements."

Borussia Dortmund will find it "brutally difficult" to prevent Bayern Munich winning an eighth straight Bundesliga title after defeat in the Klassiker, according to Lucien Favre.

Dortmund came into Tuesday's home showdown against the leaders just four points behind Bayern and having won their previous six Bundesliga matches.

However, they were undone by Joshua Kimmich's brilliant chipped goal from the edge of the penalty area shortly before half-time and Bayern held on to move seven points clear with six matches to play.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said before the game that the hosts needed to win if they were to have any chance of overhauling Bayern, and head coach Favre was deflated after the loss, despite taking some pride in his team's display.

"We made a very good start in the opening 30 minutes but we sat too deep after that," Favre explained at his press conference.

"The second half was good too. We had opportunities, but the penultimate or final ball was missing. We at least deserved to draw.

"We played better than we did against Wolfsburg and Schalke.

"It will be very difficult in the title race. Seven points behind with six games [left], that will be brutally difficult."

Lucien Favre is convinced Borussia Dortmund will be an entirely different beast in Tuesday's Klassiker to the one Bayern Munich thrashed 4-0 earlier in the season, with Erling Haaland and Emre Can playing a part in that.

Bayern were comfortable victors in the first Klassiker of the season back in November, with a Robert Lewandowski brace added to by Serge Gnabry's effort and a Mats Hummels own goal.

Tuesday's encounter will likely play a vital role in deciding where the Bundesliga title ends up, with Bayern four points clear of Dortmund at the summit.

While the phenomenon of home advantage may have been lost since the Bundesliga returned behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced suspension, Favre – whose Dortmund side will host Bayern – insists conclusions from their previous meeting are irrelevant this time.

"Obviously we didn't play well in the first meeting," Favre told reporters. "It was three days after our home match against Inter.

"Since then we improved and play with another system. It suits our squad more. In the transfer market we signed two players [Haaland and Can] and have more presence on the pitch now.

"We are simply better than back then, but this match [the 4-0 defeat] definitely was not good from us."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added: "I can back Lucien 100 per cent on this. It's a crucial factor that we added two winners in Erling Haaland and Emre Can.

"Furthermore, there is big difference in our performances between home and away matches. We beat them at home last year, we beat them in the Super Cup.

"We are all looking forward to this match, as does the whole of German football."

But Zorc was eager to impress on Favre and the players the importance of this match, certain that failure to win will effectively doom their title challenge.

"First and second place in the league table are facing off. Emotionally it is a different match, just like it was in the derby against Schalke," Zorc said.

"When you play without fans it's going to be determined by the values we showed on the pitch in the previous two games. The team has been right on point.

"Obviously, you don't have to be a prophet when you say: If we want to keep competing for the title, we have to win the match. It's as simple as that.

"There are only six more matches to play after that. It's easy to say, difficult to achieve, since Bayern are an exceptional side."

Mario Gotze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, sporting director Michael Zorc has confirmed.

The midfielder confirmed in April that he was planning to leave Signal Iduna Park as he sought a new direction for his career, although CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke later suggested Gotze could decide to sign a new contract.

Head coach Lucien Favre placed Gotze's future back in doubt this week when he admitted the player was not suited to their preferred system.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Wolfsburg, Zorc confirmed Gotze will leave on a free transfer at the end of 2019-20.

"We will finish our work with Mario this summer," Zorc told Sky. "It's a decision made by mutual consent after a good conversation. Mario is a great guy."

Gotze returned to Dortmund in 2016 having left his boyhood club to join Bayern Munich three years earlier.

The 2014 World Cup winner, who scored the decisive goal in the final against Argentina, has struggled for regular form and fitness in recent years partly due to a debilitating metabolic condition.

Hertha Berlin are reported to be interested in keeping him in the Bundesliga, but Serie A clubs including Milan, Roma and Lazio have also been linked.

 

Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre has cast further doubt on the future of Mario Gotze by admitting he does not suit the current system.

The midfielder confirmed in April that he was planning to leave BVB at the end of the season as he sought a new direction for his career, although CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke later suggested Gotze could decide to sign a new contract.

The 27-year-old has started just five Bundesliga matches this season and only came on in the 87th minute in last week's 4-0 derby win over Schalke, Dortmund's first match since the competition restarted after weeks of suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Favre expects to use Gotze in the remaining matches of 2019-20 but concedes the 2014 World Cup winner's style does not fit his preferred formation.

"Right now, we are playing 3-4-3," he said ahead of Saturday's clash with Wolfsburg. "So, I have been talking to Mario Gotze, and unfortunately this is not the right system for him. You must say the truth about this.

"Of course, he is able to play half-left or half-right, but we will see. There are still many games ahead of us and we need to count on every single player."

One player who is undoubtedly key to Dortmund's title challenge is Julian Brandt, who assisted two goals in a superb performance against Schalke.

Favre suggested the former Bayer Leverkusen man's versatility is the kind of quality Gotze needs to earn back his place.

"Julian Brandt is able to play many different positions in different systems," said Favre. "That shows great quality.

"Playing in a 4-3-3 is not the same as playing in a 3-4-3, playing on the wings or between the lines. He does this very well.

"You must not forget he played in midfield with only one or two additional players and he also played as striker against Slavia Prague. I like this very much because as a coach you get a lot of opportunities with a player like this. He is performing very well. He has do keep up his development like it is right now."

Sporting director Michael Zorc added: "He is a fantastic player - that's why we tried so hard for him and finally signed him for BVB. I have not seen many players with his potential, but of course he can still get better."

Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre is not giving up on Marco Reus playing again this season despite reports claiming his 2019-20 campaign is already over.

Reus suffered a groin injury during a DFB-Pokal match in February, and although he was only thought to be facing a month out, the 30-year-old still has not been able to return to full training.

It was reported earlier in the week that Reus will definitely miss next Tuesday's Klassiker against Bayern Munich, and an absence until the end of the season is likely.

Favre, speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Wolfsburg, refused to openly confirm or contradict those claims, though he did appear hopeful that Reus would be able to feature again this term as Dortmund challenge Bayern for the Bundesliga title.

"He hasn't trained with the team yet," Favre told reporters.

"We hope that he will come back as soon as possible and can help us until the end of the season."

There was positive news with respect to Emre Can and Giovanni Reyna. The midfield pair missed the 4-0 win over Schalke as Dortmund resumed their season last Saturday, and they are due to be involved in team training on Friday.

Dortmund have had to contend with numerous injuries of late, with Axel Witsel still out with a muscular problem and Dan-Axel Zagadou set for a long absence due to a knee ligament injury, but Favre feels such issues were to be expected following the coronavirus-enforced pause.

"We trained first in groups of two, then in groups of four. There is a certain danger," he said. "We all did not train normally and then had to train properly four or five days before a championship game, duels. This is not a big surprise for me."

Lucien Favre hopes the injury that robbed Giovanni Reyna of a first Borussia Dortmund start in Saturday's 4-0 Revierderby victory over Schalke is not serious.

Reyna, 17, was named in Dortmund's line-up as the Bundesliga returned from a two-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic but sustained an injury in the warm-up. He was replaced by Thorgan Hazard.

Hazard teed up the opener for Erling Haaland and scored one himself in between a double for Raphael Guerreiro, helping BVB cruise to three points at an empty Signal Iduna Park.

Schalke lost Jean-Clair Todibo to a muscular injury at half-time, while Hazard hobbled off when he was replaced by Jadon Sancho in the 79th minute.

Favre insisted the Belgium international was only struggling with cramp, but he expects a number of players will suffer from niggles as the Bundesliga gets back up and running.

"A lot of teams will have a few players who will be injured," said Favre. "We started very late with the 10 against 10 games, tackling and so on.

"I hope Reyna has nothing. It won't be long for [Axel] Witsel and [Emre] Can, [Dan-Axel] Zagadou won't play again this season.

"Marco Reus has not yet played with the team. Nico Schulz has injured himself again, he is not allowed to do anything for two to three weeks.

"Hazard only had cramp, no injury."

Dortmund players kept their distance when celebrating – a touch of elbows the most contact they made with one another – while substitutes were spaced out on the sideline and wore masks.

Favre acknowledged the atmosphere behind closed doors was unusual but was proud of the way his team performed.

He said: "4-0 against Schalke - that's quite okay. The key was that the team played well together, also defensively. That was very, very special.

"There wasn't any noise, you shoot at the goal, make a top pass, a goal - and nothing happens. That's very, very strange. We really miss our fans.

"It was a completely different game than usual. It's hard to judge how good the game was. I had the feeling that it wasn't as committed as planned. The players were very focused on their task."

An error from goalkeeper Markus Schubert preceded Guerreiro's opener, while Dortmund's last two goals came at the end of swift counter-attacks.

Schalke boss David Wagner said: "We didn't have a good game, and at really bad moments we conceded the goals. At least two goals would have been easy to defend.

"Derby defeats are unpleasant in principle, even in this bizarre atmosphere. The feeling of the second half of the season is not there yet. The situation is quite extraordinary.

"I don't think we had any major physical deficits. We had deficits in defending the right spaces."

A Revierderby without fans is a painful reality that Borussia Dortmund and Schalke followers must accept, Michael Zorc has warned.

The Bundesliga rivals meet on Saturday as the German top flight resumes after the lengthy shutdown that followed the coronavirus outbreak.

However, the match will be behind closed doors and supporters have been urged to stay away from Signal Iduna Park.

"A Revierderby without fans makes your heart bleed," said Dortmund sporting director Zorc.

"We will need a high level of personal motivation on Saturday without the supporters there.

"Everyone should watch the game at home, that's very important for the restart."

BVB are four points behind league leaders Bayern Munich and were held to a 0-0 draw in October's trip to Schalke.

Coach Lucien Favre acknowledged the unique circumstances surrounding such a high-profile fixture, but cited two things that will help his side – the ability to make five substitutions and the fact his players have benefited from the services of a psychologist.

"I am happy that we can change five players during the game. It is a very good idea and it will be necessary," he said.

"It is very good that we now have a psychologist on the team, since it is a very special situation for everyone.

"We trained well. Now we are in the hotel, everyone is doing their job very well. We have no problem with it."

Favre confirmed he would be without Axel Witsel and Emre Can after both players were forced to leave the team's quarantine bubble for treatment on injuries.

Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki reckons facing Paris Saint-Germain behind closed doors will feel similar to a training session.

The second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday will be played without fans in attendance due to coronavirus.

Burki, whose side won the first leg 2-1, said he expected it to be similar to Dortmund's final training session.

"I've never experienced anything like that," he told BVB-TV on Tuesday.

"I don't know what to expect from this game, I guess it will be similar to today's final training session, but with another team on the pitch that also wants to win as well.

"We have to be totally focused, unfortunately without our fans, but I am pretty sure they will support us from their homes.

"We will try to make the best out of it and make our fans celebrate."

Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre is also expecting an unusual atmosphere during the second leg.

"I have experienced such a situation about 20 years ago with Servette, and this was not that good I can tell you," he said.

"We are used to playing in front of our fans whether it's at home and even abroad, and even if the games aren't always against the same level of competition.

"Usually there is a lot of emotion here at the Paris stadium, but playing without spectators is something different."

PSG star Kylian Mbappe is in doubt for the second leg due to illness, while Dortmund will be without the injured Marco Reus.

Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre remains unsure when Marco Reus will return from a muscle injury.

Reus was forced off during his side's DFB-Pokal loss to Werder Bremen on February 2, with the Bundesliga club initially announcing he would not return to training again for four weeks.

Favre confirmed on Thursday that while the Germany forward is now working indoors as he continues his recovery, he will not be involved when Dortmund travel to Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

"I can't tell you the exact time when he will return. He started his indoor training yesterday, but that's all I can say about this," Favre told a news conference.

Reus' fitness is a major concern ahead of the Champions League last-16 second leg against Paris Saint-Germain next Wednesday.

They were without their captain for the first meeting at Signal Iduna Park, where Erling Haaland scored twice to secure a 2-1 victory over their French opponents.

With Reus still sidelined, Favre could turn to Mario Gotze ahead of a busy schedule that the Dortmund head coach described as an "English week" during his pre-match press conference.

Gotze has featured sparingly this season, making 13 league appearances, and is out of contract at the end of the season.

Asked if the 2014 World Cup winner may be more heavily involved, Favre replied: "We will see about that. But it is possible, because we are going to have an English week playing on Saturday, Wednesday and again on Saturday.

"It is going really fast and everybody has to prepare for this. We will already see about this tomorrow. He keeps going in the training and performs very well, so everything is possible.

"There are still 10 matches ahead of us in the championship, so everything can happen. Everything happens really fast in football."

Erling Haaland's competitive nature means he shows signs of frustration even in training, a mentality that has impressed Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.

Haaland has enjoyed a remarkable start to life at Dortmund following his January arrival from Salzburg in a reported €20million transfer.

The Norwegian striker has already scored eight times in just five Bundesliga matches and 11 in seven in all for his new club.

The 19-year-old stunned Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, scoring both of Dortmund's goals in their 2-1 first-leg victory at Signal Iduna Park.

That brace took him to 10 Champions League goals in fewer games than any other player in history, having incredibly netted eight times in six group-stage appearances with Salzburg before the turn of the year.

Favre is unsurprisingly delighted with the teenager's impact and shed light on his mentality, with Haaland seemingly taking training just as seriously as matches.

"It's great what he is doing," Favre told reporters on Thursday, as Dortmund prepare for Saturday's trip to Werder Bremen.

"As I have already said, he has a great mentality and always wants to look ahead. He always wants to train.

"When we play during training and he is losing or not scoring, he is not happy at all. This is very, very positive.

"We know what he is capable of, you [the media] realised this, too."

Haaland is by no means the only young player to be impressing at Dortmund currently, however. Gio Reyna - son of former Bayer Leverkusen, Rangers and Manchester City midfielder Claudio - has also caught the eye of late.

The 17-year-old has made seven appearances for the first team, scoring once, and was influential off the bench against PSG, his darting run and well-placed pass setting up Haaland's stunning winner.

For Favre, the English-born American's ability is obvious.

"We have kept out eye on Gio for a long time," Favre added. "He was with us in the US [during Dortmund's pre-season training camp] training and has been in [full first-team] training several times.

"If you don't see his quality, you're blind. He is very clever, very intelligent. Bit by bit, he has to be playing more, or he has to play from the beginning.

"Of course, at 17, he still has a lot ahead of him and can make great progress, but he already has a great mindset."

Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre lauded Erling Haaland after his record-breaking performance in the Champions League.

Haaland made history with his quick-fire second-half brace as Dortmund defeated Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the opening leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old striker became the fastest player to score 10 goals in Champions League history, reaching the feat in just his seventh appearance.

Haaland shattered records on his Champions League debut for Dortmund and Favre lauded the Norway international, who only arrived from Salzburg in January.

"He defended well with the others," Favre told reporters post-game. "He also stood very compactly in combination with the other players. It helped us that he also defended. He did that very, very well.

"If we have the possibility to combine with him, then we will do that. Either with balls into the depth or he gets the ball and holds it for now. He did that very well.

"Before the 2-1 it is a great pass from Giovanni Reyna. The ball was very good, but it was especially so good because Haaland moved well."

Among the records, Haaland – at 19 years and 212 days – is the second youngest player to reach 10 goals in the Champions League, behind PSG star Kylian Mbappe (18y, 360d).

Haaland, who turned down a January move to Premier League giants Manchester United, has scored 11 goals in his first seven games in all competitions for Dortmund – no other player from a Bundesliga side has ever achieved that feat.

He also became the first Dortmund player to score on his debut in the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal, as his remarkable season continued.

Lucien Favre says Borussia Dortmund cannot afford to focus all their attention on Neymar as the world's most expensive player prepares to return to the Paris Saint-Germain team on Tuesday.

Neymar has been out of action since suffering a rib injury against Montpellier on February 1 but, alongside Kylian Mbappe, who missed the weekend draw at Amiens, he was named in the PSG squad for their Champions League last-16 first leg at Dortmund.

The Brazil international has made just a single appearance for PSG in the knockout stages of Europe's elite competition since joining in 2017, with injuries curtailing his campaigns as the Ligue 1 giants suffered consecutive last-16 defeats.

But Neymar also played only twice in this season's group stage as Thomas Tuchel's men topped the table and defeated Real Madrid.

Favre is therefore well aware of the other threats PSG might pose at Signal Iduna Park, including World Cup winner Mbappe, who scored three goals against Dortmund for Monaco in the 2016-17 quarter-finals.

"All the players have great qualities at PSG, but they have won against Madrid without him [Neymar]," Favre told a pre-match news conference on Monday.

"Neymar is very, very good, but there is also Mbappe or [Angel] Di Maria. I could count 10 players.

"They have high qualities in winning the ball and going forward very quickly. You play with counter-pressing, but you can also wait to counter."

Dortmund have quality of their own, though, and are boosted by the January arrival of Erling Haaland, who has nine goals in six games since joining from Salzburg.

Haaland netted eight times in the Champions League for Salzburg in the first half of the campaign, and Favre is optimistic the 19-year-old can continue this outstanding form against PSG.

"He adapted very quickly and showed his strengths: his strength and his running," Favre said. "He always wants to develop, even in training. He has a great mentality.

"He has already taken a great path here, even though he is only 19 years old. It's different in Dortmund than in Salzburg, of course, but he also played in the Champions League and scored goals there. I hope he does the same with us."

Dortmund and PSG have had trouble in defence in recent weeks, the Bundesliga side conceding four at Bayer Leverkusen on February 8 while the French champions let in the same number at Amiens in an epic draw on Saturday.

An exciting attacking encounter is therefore anticipated, but Favre – who will be without midfielder Julian Brandt – would be happy to see a tighter affair.

"I prefer to see a nice game, but sometimes a nice game is about good defensive play," he said. "Sometimes I have nothing against winning 1-0 or playing a 0-0.

"If there is an offensive style of play, people are happy – but not always the coaches."

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland must still convince Lucien Favre of his match fitness despite a sensational start to life in Germany.

Haaland arrived at Signal Iduna Park from RB Salzburg last month, billed as one of the hottest properties in European football, and the teenage striker has certainly not disappointed.

He scored a hat-trick from the bench to inspire a 5-3 comeback win over Augsburg on debut and followed that with a brace in a 5-1 rout of Cologne.

The Norway international was at the double once more on his first start, with Union Berlin dismissed 5-0, although he was a substitute once more for the DFB-Pokal tie at Werder Bremen in midweek.

Naturally, Haaland scored after his introduction, although BVB fell to a 3-2 defeat.

Asked whether he regretted not starting the in-form forward, Favre kept his sights trained on the bigger picture at a Thursday news conference.

"As I said, I am the first one to [know whether to] let him play from the beginning," he said.

"You don't know his fitness like I do. So, we have to be careful. We have to be reasonable.

"Of course, I would like to let him play all games, but we still have to be careful with him sometimes.

"He is 19 years old and I speak about the pre-season and old injuries. We have to be reasonable."

Favre's hand might be forced, however, given his forward line will be without Marco Reus when they travel to face Bayer Leverkusen this weekend. 

"Unfortunately, Marco is injured now. It happened in the last minute. I am very sorry for him," said Favre, with his captain set for a four-week spell on the sidelines due to a muscular complaint that will cause him to miss the Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain on February 18.

"But Marco is still very important and will be important for the team. There are several options how to replace him, but it depends on the system. Today it’s still not decided."

Emre Can, a deadline-day arrival on an initial loan from Juventus, made a substitute cameo against Werder and could make his league debut for Dortmund against old employers Leverkusen.

"We have to see him in training, how he feels. He did not play a lot [at Juventus this season]," Favre added.

"He made a good impression yesterday. The training was very long and intense. He did very well.

"He has to show in training what he is able to do. We know he can play as a defender with a back three but also in the midfield as six or eight, also in a 4-3-3.

"We will see because right now I cannot tell you exactly."

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