Marcel Schmelzer called Borussia Dortmund’s attitude into question following their Europa League exit and implored his team-mates to turn things around in the closing weeks of the Bundesliga season.
Dortmund could only manage a 0-0 draw at RB Salzburg on Thursday, meaning one of the favourites for the tournament bowed out at the last-16 stage after a 2-1 defeat in the first leg.
Head coach Peter Stoger was left deeply unhappy with his side’s display, and captain Schmelzer was similarly scathing in his assessment.
With eight games remaining in the Bundesliga, Dortmund occupy the third of the four Champions League qualification spots, with only a three-point cushion to the fifth-placed side Eintracht Frankfurt.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) March 15, 2018
“I don’t think it’s something you [the journalist] can really evaluate. But it’s clear that the attitude can’t have been at 100 per cent in either of the two games,” Schmelzer said, after seeing one potential route back to Europe’s premier club competition ended by the Austrian champions.
“The only thing we can take away from this is that we have to perform in the Bundesliga now. We no longer have the excuse of having to play every three days, instead we’re in the same situation as the other teams where we have the entire week to prepare the next game.
“Like I said, there are no more excuses and the attitude has to be right now, because me personally, and I hope this is the case for every single one of us, want to play Champions League next season.
“We have a difficult end to the season in the Bundesliga to make that happen. As you could see in these two games, if you don’t put in 100 per cent, and I’m referring to mental aspects and the attitude and absolutely wanting to win a game, then it’ll be very difficult in the Bundesliga, too.
“So I hope that’s what we take away from these two games.”
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