Michael Zorc has admonished Jadon Sancho for breaching coronavirus rules, but the Borussia Dortmund sporting director wants criticism of the forward to cease as he praised his George Floyd demonstration.

In photographs published by Bild on Wednesday, Sancho was one of six Dortmund players not wearing a mask while they received haircuts from barber Winnie Nana Karkari at their homes.

That led to a reproach from Zorc, given the German Football League's (DFL) coronavirus protocol says players should have no contact with the public, remain at home and receive no visitors because of the pandemic.

However, Zorc also thinks Sancho's act at the weekend - when he revealed a "justice for George Floyd" t-shirt after scoring against Paderborn - should earn him greater respect.

On the same day the haircut photos were revealed, the German Football Association (DFB) said it would not punish Sancho and others for "actions of anti-racism", which came after Floyd died in police custody in the United States last week.

"I think it's splendid that the DFB president who sits at the very top wonders about this matter, is flexible and takes current events into consideration," Zorc told reporters.

"I don't know in what terms you can look at what the guys did as a political message. It was about humanity, justice and a clear message against racism. How many campaigns have we done together with DFB on this matter?

"Maybe it's about time to put away the criticism which Jadon Sancho often receives, as he was one of the first who have actually made a stand and showed a clear sign against racism in the match against Paderborn."

In the Bild report, it was also suggested Sancho flew back to England earlier in the lockdown period.

He only came off the bench in Dortmund's first three games back after the break due to a calf injury before marking his return to the starting line-up with a hat-trick against Paderborn.

"To our knowledge Jadon has been in Dortmund for weeks," Zorc added. 

"I even read that we have put him into a two-week long quarantine and faked an injury. I can only say that is completely wrong.

"Jadon has had a calf injury for weeks, which is why he could not participate in training."

On what he said to Sancho regarding the haircut, Zorc added: "We have spoken to both the hairdresser and the player.

"Both have ensured us that the measures of hygiene have been respected at all times. They even wore a protection shield and gloves, which were only taken off for the picture.

"Obviously this is not right. We have made that clear once again to the players.

"In this special situation that we are all in due to COVID-19 it is not just the duty of the coaches to keep an eye on discipline. The whole club needs to do that, this includes the board.

"We have spoken to the players in the past. Also with Jadon. We must not forget Jadon is still a very young player, testing his boundaries.

"I don't think I'm accused of protecting him all the time, as I have sanctioned him when there have been misconducts from his side."

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has admitted defeat in the Bundesliga title race as he acknowledged Bayern Munich will be crowned champions again.

When the Bundesliga resumed last month after a two-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dortmund trailed Bayern by four points with nine games remaining.

However, last week's 1-0 win in Der Klassiker at Signal Iduna Park increased Bayern's lead to seven points, an advantage they maintained after the weekend's results when they thumped Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0.

With five games remaining and Bayern in fine form, Zorc has accepted Dortmund's hopes of preventing their rivals winning an eighth straight Bundesliga title are over.

"I think we said it all during the previous week after the match against Bayern," Zorc told reporters.

"From our point of view, the title has been decided.

"We don't believe Bayern will slip, they are just too good, one has to admit that.

"We are currently second and would very much like to finish there."

Dortmund are two points clear of third-placed RB Leipzig and four above Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.

Lucien Favre's side still need to visit Leipzig but their next game is against Hertha Berlin on Saturday, when teenager Erling Haaland could potentially be missing from the side once more.

The striker came off in the loss to Bayern with a knee injury and was absent for the 6-1 win at Paderborn on Sunday.

"He started to work out with the team for 40 minutes today," Zorc said of Haaland.

"He will be with us tomorrow and we will see. He did not do much since he was slightly injured. We will see."

On captain Marco Reus, who has not played since February due to a thigh injury, Zorc added: "Marco Reus has not been in training with the team for four months.

"He is slowly getting there. He did a lot of running. He has been starting to work with the ball but only in individual training."

Borussia Dortmund do not expect a decision on Achraf Hakimi's future until Real Madrid's LaLiga season finishes, says BVB chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Versatile wing-back Hakimi has been an outstanding performer for Dortmund during a two-year loan spell.

The Madrid man, who has formed an effective right-sided partnership with Jadon Sancho, has played 50 times in the Bundesliga, scoring seven goals.

Hakimi's form would appear to make him a genuine option for Madrid's first XI, and agent Alejandro Camano last week said a return to Spain was the player's aim.

But Dortmund are not yet giving up hope of a permanent transfer for the 21-year-old.

"There will definitely be no decision before the Spaniards have ended the season," Watzke told Kicker.

Sporting director Michael Zorc added: "The possibility is still open. We can still imagine Hakimi at BVB.

"But I stick to the facts. Achraf has a contract with Madrid."

While Hakimi's status for next season is uncertain, Dortmund are widely expected to lose Sancho, who has been linked with a host of elite clubs.

The England winger has 17 goals and 16 assists in the league this season and scored his first career hat-trick against Paderborn on Sunday.

Lucien Favre is convinced Borussia Dortmund will be an entirely different beast in Tuesday's Klassiker to the one Bayern Munich thrashed 4-0 earlier in the season, with Erling Haaland and Emre Can playing a part in that.

Bayern were comfortable victors in the first Klassiker of the season back in November, with a Robert Lewandowski brace added to by Serge Gnabry's effort and a Mats Hummels own goal.

Tuesday's encounter will likely play a vital role in deciding where the Bundesliga title ends up, with Bayern four points clear of Dortmund at the summit.

While the phenomenon of home advantage may have been lost since the Bundesliga returned behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced suspension, Favre – whose Dortmund side will host Bayern – insists conclusions from their previous meeting are irrelevant this time.

"Obviously we didn't play well in the first meeting," Favre told reporters. "It was three days after our home match against Inter.

"Since then we improved and play with another system. It suits our squad more. In the transfer market we signed two players [Haaland and Can] and have more presence on the pitch now.

"We are simply better than back then, but this match [the 4-0 defeat] definitely was not good from us."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added: "I can back Lucien 100 per cent on this. It's a crucial factor that we added two winners in Erling Haaland and Emre Can.

"Furthermore, there is big difference in our performances between home and away matches. We beat them at home last year, we beat them in the Super Cup.

"We are all looking forward to this match, as does the whole of German football."

But Zorc was eager to impress on Favre and the players the importance of this match, certain that failure to win will effectively doom their title challenge.

"First and second place in the league table are facing off. Emotionally it is a different match, just like it was in the derby against Schalke," Zorc said.

"When you play without fans it's going to be determined by the values we showed on the pitch in the previous two games. The team has been right on point.

"Obviously, you don't have to be a prophet when you say: If we want to keep competing for the title, we have to win the match. It's as simple as that.

"There are only six more matches to play after that. It's easy to say, difficult to achieve, since Bayern are an exceptional side."

Mario Gotze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, sporting director Michael Zorc has confirmed.

The midfielder confirmed in April that he was planning to leave Signal Iduna Park as he sought a new direction for his career, although CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke later suggested Gotze could decide to sign a new contract.

Head coach Lucien Favre placed Gotze's future back in doubt this week when he admitted the player was not suited to their preferred system.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Wolfsburg, Zorc confirmed Gotze will leave on a free transfer at the end of 2019-20.

"We will finish our work with Mario this summer," Zorc told Sky. "It's a decision made by mutual consent after a good conversation. Mario is a great guy."

Gotze returned to Dortmund in 2016 having left his boyhood club to join Bayern Munich three years earlier.

The 2014 World Cup winner, who scored the decisive goal in the final against Argentina, has struggled for regular form and fitness in recent years partly due to a debilitating metabolic condition.

Hertha Berlin are reported to be interested in keeping him in the Bundesliga, but Serie A clubs including Milan, Roma and Lazio have also been linked.

 

A Revierderby without fans is a painful reality that Borussia Dortmund and Schalke followers must accept, Michael Zorc has warned.

The Bundesliga rivals meet on Saturday as the German top flight resumes after the lengthy shutdown that followed the coronavirus outbreak.

However, the match will be behind closed doors and supporters have been urged to stay away from Signal Iduna Park.

"A Revierderby without fans makes your heart bleed," said Dortmund sporting director Zorc.

"We will need a high level of personal motivation on Saturday without the supporters there.

"Everyone should watch the game at home, that's very important for the restart."

BVB are four points behind league leaders Bayern Munich and were held to a 0-0 draw in October's trip to Schalke.

Coach Lucien Favre acknowledged the unique circumstances surrounding such a high-profile fixture, but cited two things that will help his side – the ability to make five substitutions and the fact his players have benefited from the services of a psychologist.

"I am happy that we can change five players during the game. It is a very good idea and it will be necessary," he said.

"It is very good that we now have a psychologist on the team, since it is a very special situation for everyone.

"We trained well. Now we are in the hotel, everyone is doing their job very well. We have no problem with it."

Favre confirmed he would be without Axel Witsel and Emre Can after both players were forced to leave the team's quarantine bubble for treatment on injuries.

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc does not believe any club will risk a big-money offer for Jadon Sancho this year.

England star Sancho has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea following another exceptional season in the Bundesliga.

It had been reported the 20-year-old would command a fee of at least €100million to persuade Dortmund to sell.

However, with clubs across the world facing a significant loss of earnings due to the football shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the likelihood of Sancho leaving for such a fee appears reduced.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward stated last week that suggestions of nine-figure sums being paid for players in 2020 were ignoring "the realities that face the sport", with the Red Devils having also been linked with a bid for Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

Zorc, too, appears to expect Sancho to be beyond the reach of even the wealthiest clubs, revealing Dortmund remain "totally relaxed" over the situation.

"There is no new situation [on Sancho]," he told Sport1. "Currently, no club will risk anything in making a big-money move - not even in England.

"We have a long-term contract with Jadon Sancho and that is why we are totally relaxed."

Sancho managed 14 goals and 15 assists in his first 23 Bundesliga appearances of 2019-20.

His contract is not due to expire until 2022.

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has warned coach Lucien Favre the club's situation is "more than unsatisfactory" and demanded improvements against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Dortmund are struggling for results in the Bundesliga and a 3-3 draw at home against bottom club Paderborn on Friday left them with just two wins from their last eight league matches.

The Champions League has provided welcome respite for Favre's men this season and they sit second in Group F, just one point behind Barcelona.

Victory at Camp Nou would ease pressure building on the coach's position.

While there has been no explicit suggestion of a change in coach at Signal Iduna Park, Zorc made it clear the board are concerned.

"Obviously the topic will be discussed publicly because our situation is more than unsatisfactory," Zorc told Funke Sport.

"Of course we will analyse that very intensively. But we are going to the match in Barcelona with Lucien Favre and we expect to see a significant increase in performance there.

"We need a performance. We finally need a good performance on the pitch so you can look forward."

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke also chose to speak out after the Paderborn result, reassuring Favre he still has the club's backing.

However, he made it clear the team's current form would not be allowed to continue without consequences.

"Dear Lucien, you still have our trust," Watzke said at the club's AGM. "But in the end football is always defined by results.

"We all hope you and the team are able to turn this around. You have all the support we can give you."

Directing a stern message towards the club's players, he added: "Pull yourselves together and play like it is expected from Borussia Dortmund. You as a team must know that only words are not enough.

"It is your duty to let them be followed by actions."

Borussia Dortmund have finally confirmed a new four-year deal for Raphael Guerreiro.

Portugal international Guerreiro had appeared set to commit his future to Dortmund in September, with sporting director Michael Zorc describing himself as "very optimistic" a contract would be agreed.

The extension was formally announced on Thursday, with the versatile defender set to stay at Signal Iduna Park until 2023.

Guerreiro's previous deal was due to expire at the end of the season, prompting links to Paris Saint-Germain in the previous transfer window.

Upon signing the new terms, Guerreiro said: "Borussia Dortmund are a great club where I have been feeling very comfortable with my family for three years.

"I will do everything I can to help our team achieve their goals and we should start with victory on Saturday at home against Gladbach [Borussia Monchengladbach]."

Zorc added: "Raphael is an internationally experienced and technically first-class footballer who can be flexibly deployed in several positions and enjoys a high regard within our squad."

Guerreiro, who can play at left-back and in midfield, has made five Bundesliga appearances for eighth-placed Dortmund this season.

He joined the German giants from Lorient in a reported €12million deal while starring in Portugal's successful Euro 2016 campaign.

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