BORUSSIA DORTMUND veteran defender Mats Hummels has criticised his own teammates ahead of their Europa League showdown with Rangers and written off their Bundesliga title hopes.
The Germans welcome the Ibrox side to their Westfalenstadion ground on Thursday and warmed up for the game with an impressive 3-0 win at Union Berlin, who were in fourth place in the table.
Hummels – who has had two spells with both Dortmund and Bayern Munich – returned to the team after missing their humiliating 5-2 home loss to
Bayer Leverkusen last week through illness.
And although Dortmund slices Bayern’s lead at the top of the table to six points after the Bavarians surprisingly lost 4-2 at Bochum, the 33-year-old reckons his own team are not yet equipped to challenge for the title.
He said: “Honestly, I’m glad that we were able to increase the gap on the fifth-placed team.
“In order to compete with a team like Bayern Munich, we have to bring a lot more to the pitch.
“When I watched us against Bayer Leverkusen, I didn’t see too many players who were interested in defending.
“It’s clear we didn’t listen to what our manager had told us before the Leverkusen game. If you are serious about challenging, you can’t play that way.
“Against Union, we had more stability because we had defensive midfielders helping us.
“Maybe at some point in the future we can dream, but I don’t see that happening at the moment.”
BVB captain Marco Reus netted a double in the German capital and will be a real threat to Rangers this week.
And he’s urged his colleagues to put everything into winning the Europa League – a competition Dortmund are not normally in.
He said: “This is a new competition for us. There’s also a trophy up for grabs.
“Rangers are a strong team. The outcome won’t be decided on Thursday, both legs will be very important to the outcome. We accept the challenge.
“We will go back to training this week and give everything for this game.
“To win like that in Berlin was excellent. It was exactly the reaction everyone wanted to see after last week.
“We had to defend a lot in the second half, but Union are a good team at the top end of the table and to get a clean sheet was important.
“I believe we can build on this for Thursday’s game in Europe.
“We are only concentrating on ourselves and not looking at the table. We know we haven’t been consistent enough and there’s no point looking ahead.
“When we play to our strengths, we are a good team. We have to look at our own performances and the rest will take care of itself.”