Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has defended himself after being suspended by Borussia Dortmund, telling Bild he does not “understand” his latest punishment.
Aubameyang, 29, did not travel with the BVB squad for Friday’s Bundesliga game in Stuttgart after being left out for ”disciplinary reasons.”
The Gabon international has netted 10 goals in 11 games this season and the club gave no further reason for dropping him, other than to confirm it was for a breach of discipline.
A club statement on Twitter read: “Aubameyang has been removed from the squad for tomorrow’s match for disciplinary reasons.”
However, Bild reports the striker has been repeatedly late for training, with the latest offence coming when he arrived 20 minutes late for final preparations ahead of the trip to Stuttgart.
Aubameyang was previously suspended by the club last November when he missed the 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League for an unapproved trip to Milan against then-coach Thomas Tuchel’s wishes.
Bild alleges Aubameyang took a similar trip this year to Barcelona with club permission, but he returned late on Sunday.
However, Aubameyang told Bild: “After Milan, I could understand the suspension and fine because I broke a club rule. But I don’t understand it this time — I didn’t want to turn up late.”
According to Bild, Aubameyang had thought 2:30 p.m. was the departure time for the trip to Stuttgart when it was actually 2 p.m. They also reported that various teammates had already complained to coach Peter Bosz about his poor timekeeping, which is believed to have further incurred Aubameyang’s wrath.
Der Westen has also reported from a source “within the team” that the striker “allowed himself numerous lapses of discipline, arrives late for training constantly and considers himself untouchable.”
Other reports in the German media on Friday hypothesized that a further catalyst behind Aubameyang’s suspension was an unauthorized video shoot with Sean Garnier, a Red Bull football freestyler, at BVB’s training ground.
Bundesliga rivals Leipzig are backed by Red Bull and both Garnier and Aubameyang posted pictures from the training ground on their respective Instagram accounts on Thursday.
Deposed league leaders BVB have managed only a single point in their last four league games under Bosz, letting a five-point advantage at the top slip to currently languish six points behind reigning champions Bayern Munich.
“The pressure is growing,” Bosz said, with Portugal international Raphael Guerreiro telling Bild the former Ajax coach is “louder and more direct at the moment. We need that.”