Berlin, Germany, May 27 – Swiss coach Lucien Favre on Wednesday back-tracked on comments he made hinting he would leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season after defeat by Bayern Munich left his team seven points adrift of the champions in the Bundesliga title race with six games left.
“I am not thinking of giving up at all,” Favre, who is under contract until 2021, insisted on Wednesday.
“Yesterday, we were all disappointed, but my words in the interview directly after the game seem to have been misunderstood in many cases,” with several German media outlets speculating about his future.
Favre’s attitude was very different to his crestfallen demeanour immediately after Tuesday’s 1-0 home loss to Bayern, thanks to Joshua Kimmich’s deft chip just before half-time.
The defeat came on the back of a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Bayern last November at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
On Tuesday night, Favre gave a rueful grin when asked if the latest defeat proved he does not have what it takes to lead Dortmund to break Bayern’s monopoly on the German league.
“That’s been said here for months,” Favre had said.
“I know how these things go and I will talk about it in a few weeks.
“I’m staying calm and I trust in myself.”
On Wednesday, Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc told broadcaster Sport1 that the club’s senior bosses “are certainly not having a debate” about whether Favre should stay.
Zorc conceded that Favre “must have expressed himself in a misleading fashion immediately after the match”, but insisted the ambiguities had now been explained “very clearly”.
For the second season running under Favre, 62, second-placed Dortmund find themselves wanting at the tail end of the campaign with Bayern now firmly on course for an eighth straight league title.
According to German daily Bild on Wednesday, Dortmund’s bosses made contact “in the past few months” with Niko Kovac, who was sacked by Bayern in November, as a possible successor to Favre.
After Favre hinted that he may leave, Germany and Bayern legend and Sky pundit Lothar Matthaeus commented “as soon as I heard that, I thought ‘Favre will leave and Kovac will come’.”
On Wednesday, Favre responded by telling Bild he found Matthaeus’ suggestion “incredible and not acceptable for me”.
“I am happy in Dortmund, I have a contract until 2021 and I definitely want to be on the bench next season,” Favre added.
Bild also say that RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann is Dortmund’s ideal candidate, but the 32-year-old is under contract until 2023.
Favre has, however, all but waved the white flag on bridging the gap in the table, even though Bayern must still face Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, who have already both beaten them this season.
“It’s going to be difficult – seven points (to make up) in six games, that is brutally hard,” said Favre after Tuesday’s defeat to Bayern.
The Swiss fell offside with Dortmund fans last season when he conceded the 2018-19 title race was “over” after a 4-2 home loss to Schalke left them three points behind Bayern with three games left.