The acrimonious departures of Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were contributing factors in Borussia Dortmund’s underwhelming season, according to sporting director Michael Zorc.
The former Dortmund midfielder indicated that, along with the departure of head coach Peter Stoger who resigned in the aftermath of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Hoffenheim, there would be a “change on the player side” in a bid to improve performances for next season.
Dortmund stumbled to a fourth-placed Bundesliga finish and Champions League qualification on goal difference, despite the Hoffenheim setback on the final day of the season.
And Zorc pointed to the manner of the departure of key players Dembele and Aubameyang over the past two transfer windows as evidence that the club’s values had been compromised.
“We will focus again on values such as discipline, team spirit, community spirit. That was not always easy because of the incidents this season. You have to set certain values and pay attention to them,” Zorc said to RevierSport.
“I believe that we ultimately solved the incidents in the best possible way in the interests of the club. But it still has an effect in the dressing room when a player has already announced his transfer to his colleagues.
“Of course, we made mistakes. If you dismiss your coach [Peter Bosz] before Christmas, then of course you have not been right.”
Zorc also admitted that he felt a degree of relief at qualifying for Europe’s premier competition in a campaign that saw the club finish 29 points off champions Bayern Munich.
“We are relieved to be in the Champions League after a difficult and complicated season for a variety of reasons,” he added.
“This season was not a glorious one, but we now have plans for security with which to build our future and to implement our ideas. The idea being that now we have to have a new start.”