Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have some explaining to do over the celebratory mask he donned during the 1-1 Revierderby draw at Schalke.
Aubameyang gave Dortmund a 53rd-minute lead at the Veltins Arena and reverted to his famed celebration, having previously worn Batman and Spider-Man superhero masks.
He did not pay tribute to any caped crusaders on this occasion, with the mask resembling one depicted during a recent advertising campaign for his boot sponsor Nike.
Dortmund’s kit manufacturer is rival sportswear firm Puma and the forward, who has a stunning 24 goals from as many Bundesliga outings this season, could now face a tricky conversation with club chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Speaking about the mask after the game, Watzke said: “I can’t verify it yet. But if it was an advertisement partner we will talk with him and it will be difficult for him.”
Commercial sensibilities aside, Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel enjoyed a memorable moment of exuberance from his star man and dismissed suggestions the stunt was egotistical.
“There is nothing arrogant about Aubameyang’s masked goal celebration,” he said.
“It’s a derby and I’m sure you’ll be talking about it in years to come.”
Less pleasing for Tuchel was Dortmund’s wastefulness in front of goal after taking the lead.
Aubameyang made an ill-advised decision to pass to Ousmane Dembele when through on goal with the score at 1-0 and the teenage French winger struck the post before Thilo Kehrer equalised 13 minutes from time.
“We controlled large parts of the game but needed a lot of time to find solutions up front,” Tuchel said
“Missing by centimetres when Dembele hit the post – sometimes we lack the urge to score a messy goal.”
Amid a frantic finale, Schalke had penalty claims waved away when the ball struck Marc Bartra’s arm in the penalty area and Tuchel felt fortune favoured his side at that point.
“We needed a bit of luck for the referee not to give the handball,” he added. “The referee doesn’t have to give it – but he certainly could.”
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