Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Stöger has tried to distance himself from speculation surrounding his future at the Westfalenstadion, despite appearing to hint that his time at the club would come to an end this summer.
Stöger's suggestive comments came following their defeat to local rivals Schalke in the Ruhr Derby last week, where the 52-year-old told WDR Radio after the match: "My contract runs through to June 30, and that's good as it is."
But after a midweek training session, the Dortmund head coach appeared to try and backtrack on comments from last week, insisting that it was "futile" to discuss his future before the end of the season.
"Just because I said that it's a good thing that my contract expires on July 30 doesn't mean that it cannot continue afterwards," Stöger told reporters on Tuesday, quoted by ESPN.
"But at this time, it is futile to discuss that topic because we all need to focus on the remaining four games together with the clear aim to finish [in the top four]. Right now, it's not about individuals."
Peter Stoger comments seems like he understands that he won’t be at Dortmund next year. Apparently Marco Rose, RB Salzburg coach now in the mix. Big decisions ahead. UCL qualification a must too. Still not secure— keith costigan (@KeithCostigan) April 17, 2018
The former FC Köln boss is still fighting to secure Champions League football in Dortmund next season, but the club will be without injured loanee striker Michy Batshuayi for Saturday's important Bundesliga fixture against Bayer Leverkusen - who are level on points with the Black and Yellows.
"Alexander Isak is an option. Otherwise, we could put one of our fast wingers [Maximilian Philipp and Christian Pulisic] upfront in combination with Marco Reus," Stöger added about potential solutions to Dortmund's injury trouble.
"André Schürrle also would have been an option but he may not be fit for the weekend. His foot suffered a knock during the game against Schalke. Though, we certainly have enough options to make do for [Batshuayi]."