There is a lot to admire about Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, and this week he provided another example of why Real Madrid and other top clubs are keeping an eye on him. He dropped striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ‘for internal reasons,’ for the midweek Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon. It emerged that Aubameyang had gone to Milan for a birthday celebration without the club’s permission.
“I had no choice [to drop him],” said Tuchel after restoring the 27-year-old to the starting lineup against Hamburg.
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Aubameyang responded by scoring a first-half hat-trick, adding another in the second half, and was only denied a fifth by goalkeeper Rene Adler, as Dortmund won 5-2. After scoring his first goal, Aubameyang did his customary somersault celebration and than ran to Tuchel to either apologize or thank him.
“It was a nice gesture, I was happy to see it,” said Tuchel at the post-match press conference. “Four goals is an outstanding effort and exceeds our expectations.”
Tuchel and Dortmund can go into the international with talk of a crisis at the club over. It is still six points behind Bayern Munich at the top, but Tuchel dealt with this situation superbly: Aubameyang admitted his error and took his punishment.
“This was my way of apologizing, as I’m only human,” he said.