Thomas Tuchel has dismissed suggestions Borussia Dortmund have prioritised the Champions League this season as they prepare to escape their Bundesliga struggles with a home game against Sporting CP.
Dortmund were again expected to be Bayern Munich’s closest challengers in the German top flight, but their title bid has drifted well off course in recent weeks with just three points taken from their last four league games to leave them in sixth place.
They did edge out 2.Bundesliga opposition in the shape of Union Berlin in the DFB-Pokal, but required a penalty shootout to do so.
Their domestic struggles are in stark contrast to their form in the Champions League, where Tuchel’s men have claimed seven points from three matches and go into the Sporting game knowing another win will secure their place in the knockout stages.
The former Mainz boss is adamant, however, that they have not placed a greater emphasis on continental competition.
“There is a lack of precision in our game. We want to be better as a whole,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s match.
“We have finally found it harder to take chances.
“But I can confirm that we have not put the focus on the Champions League. We have to create a balancing act.
“To get through would be great but it’s all about the performance. We know about Sporting’s strength – there is no reason to feel comfortable in the Champions League.”
Tuchel can, at least, point to a lengthy injury list for some of Dortmund’s recent woes.
Full-back Lukasz Piszczek has been told to stay away due to a stomach problem, while Shinji Kagawa sustained a swollen ankle in Saturday’s 0-0 derby draw with Schalke and missed training on Tuesday.
Raphael Guerreiro and Andre Schurrle came off the bench against Schalke and Tuchel admitted he had to consider how to use the pair, along with Gonzalo Castro, against the Portuguese.
“Guerreiro, Castro and Schurrle have trained well,” he said. “But there’s a difference between training and a competitive match.
“If we can avoid it we won’t play all three of them.”