BERLIN, Germany, Jan 14-Borussia Dortmund dropped star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Sunday for failing to attend a team meeting — the third time he has been disciplined by the club in two seasons.
The 28-year-old Gabon forward, who has hit 13 goals in 15 league games this season, was left out of the squad for Sunday’s Bundesliga match at home to Wolfsburg, the club said on their Twitter account, for “disciplinary reasons”.
Before kick-off against Wolfsburg, Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger revealed that Aubameyang was kicked out of the squad for missing a team meeting on Saturday.
“He claimed to have forgotten about the meeting, but we all know that was not the case,” Stoeger told Sky.
“He didn’t come and it was an important meeting for team spirit.
“It means he can have his position back next week.”
Swedish teenager Alexander Isak started up front instead of Aubameyang in only his third German league appearance, having previously played just 13 minutes of Bundesliga football in his career.
“He (Aubameyang) was a bit surprised, he didn’t take it so seriously, but for us, the case was clear,” added Stoeger.
“If he doesn’t want to be here, we will give his position to another guy who will be completely focused.
“We are relatively relaxed. We know he’s a very important player, but the boys also know they can win without him and Isak looked good in training in the last two weeks.”
This is the second time this season Aubameyang has been dropped by the club for a breach of discipline.
He was left out in November for an unauthorised video shoot at the club’s training ground and after turning up late for training.
And last season he was dropped for flying to Milan to visit family just before a Champions League match.
The timing of Aubameyang’s latest transgression is especially unfortunate after Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke defended the striker on Saturday in an interview with daily newspaper Die Welt.
Aubameyang was the subject of negative headlines in the German media last week for checking his father and brother into the team hotel during a winter training camp in Spain, criticism which Watzke felt was unjustified.
“In all this scrutiny, which is an extravagence as far as I am concerned, we mustn’t forget one thing: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a total professional,” Watzke told Die Welt.