Peter Stoger has suggested Alexander Isak could stand to benefit from Michy Batshuayi’s season-ending ankle injury, as the Borussia Dortmund coach ponders how to fill the gap left by the Belgium international.
Batshuayi is likely to miss the remainder of the campaign but retains hope of recovering in time to represent his country at the World Cup.
The on-loan Chelsea frontman scored seven goals in 10 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund and his absence deals a blow to the club’s chances of hanging on to a Champions League berth, with Stoger’s side currently four points clear of fifth-placed RB Leipzig.
Isak, 18, has made just one league start for Dortmund since arriving from AIK in 2017, but he could be thrown into first-team action when Dortmund host third-placed Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
“We have a few options [to replace Batshuayi],” said Stoger. “A like-for-like replacement in Isak is possible.
“He presents himself well and has realised that there is a possibility for him.
“But there are other possibilities as well.”
Dortmund were beaten 2-0 by second-placed Schalke in the Ruhr Derby last time out and Stoger concedes that his players are only just beginning to get over that result.
“Time heals wounds,” he explained. “The mood is better by the day, thank God. But such a defeat is, of course, still gnawing.
“It is more difficult to get back to normal. It was not a normal defeat.”
But the coach is confident about his side’s chances of holding on to a Champions League spot.
“We have a good feeling,” he added. “The games are running out but the starting position is good and we have it in our hands.”
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