Borussia Dortmund managed a narrow 1-0 victory over Sporting Lisbon in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday night at Signal Iduna Park, but they did so without star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon attacker was not injured or officially suspended by the European football governing body, but when coach Thomas Tuchel was asked to explain the current African Player of the Year’s absence, he was unwilling to give away any details.
All Tuchel would venture is the fact that Aubameyang was suspended for the match by the club for ‘internal reasons’.
‘It was very difficult to do without him, but it was that I had no choice,’ Tuchel told the media at a post-match press conference in reference to the Gabon striker’s suspension.
‘The decision was made [Tuesday] afternoon. In the next game, he will be back,’ the coach admitted. This means that Aubameyang will return to the team for Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with Hamburg.
Pushed for a further explanation on the reasons for the 27-year-old’s absence from the match, the coach insisted: ‘Internal reasons means internal. I do not account for speculation.’
The skillful attacking talent has contributed 10 goals in 13 games for Dortmund this season, and was watching on from the stands as the German club beat their Portuguese rivals.
The striker made a trip to Italy on a day off to attend a party with friends at a luxury hotel in Varese. This trip was not sanctioned by his German club, and they reacted with an internal suspension while addressing the issue in front of other team-mates, according to German newspaper Bild.
Earlier speculation that his suspension was as a result of the player’s use of a phone during a team meeting has now been debunked, and the party in Milan seems to be the reason for him sitting out Wednesday night’s encounter.
The player came from the AC Milan youth system, growing up in the city, hence the many friends that he made in Italy during his time in the Rossoneri youth ranks. He will look to make amends for his unsolicited trip to Italy this weekend against Hamburg, before the international break.