Borussia Dortmund head coach Peter Stoger does not expect Marcel Schmelzer’s recent criticism of top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to have an adverse effect on the second half of their Bundesliga season.
Aubameyang was the top scorer in the Bundesliga last term and has starred again with 21 in 23 matches across all competitions, despite Dortmund’s dwindling form putting paid to Stoger’s predecessor Peter Bosz.
However, reports of indiscipline and poor time-keeping have dogged the Gabon international, who was again extensively linked with a move to Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande over the mid-season break.
Club captain Schmelzer told reporters that such issues had been discussed by the squad with Aubameyang and cautioned against “small fires, they can later turn into massive problems”.
Schmelzer rowed back on his stance later in the week, stating his words were directed towards all players and not just Dortmund’s star striker, and Stoger was keen to draw a line under the issue ahead of resuming top-flight action against Wolfsburg on Sunday.
“For me it was not a big topic,” Stoger told reporters. “Marcel Schmelzer is absolutely right when he points out that if you never take care of the small things, then they can become big things.
“I think that’s not only for a football team, but also in daily conduct with people. I personally haven’t seen something so critical for me to mention it in the group.”
Responding to claims that Aubameyang brought family members to Dortmund’s warm-weather training camp in Marbella, Stoger again sought to play down any notion of him helming an unhappy dressing room.
“Those who were in the training camp, the staff and all the people who are part of it – I don’t know how many there are, 60 or 70 people – they will never be all walking the same step and that’s not want you want.
“There are different people and various personalities. We are all structured in our own way.”
Stoger added: “As long as I don’t have the feeling that it influences the processes in the team, we don’t have to make things bigger than they are.
“In general he [Schmelzer] is right and it is good that it was said, just to know that things can also be adjusted by the team itself without somebody external intervening.
“And if there is a bigger problem, then I will be there.”