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Last-chance saloon for Dortmund's Favre as Klinsmann's Hertha await

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By Reuters
Last-chance saloon for Dortmund's Favre as Klinsmann's Hertha await
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group F - FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - November 27, 2019 Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre before the match REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo   -   Copyright  ALBERT GEA(Reuters)

BERLIN (Reuters) – Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre’s spell at the Ruhr valley club could come to a sudden end on Saturday when they take on Hertha Berlin in the capital.

The Swiss, who is in his second season, has been living on borrowed time for the past weeks, with calls from fans for his departure growing louder.

“It is a difficult situation for us all,” Favre said following their 3-1 Champions League defeat at Barcelona on Wednesday. “But I am confident. I have faith in the team.”

Yet even club Chief Executive Hans-Joachim Watzke issued a warning last week saying that Favre’s Dortmund career was dependent on him delivering results immediately.

But the coach has so far failed to turn things around for the title hopefuls, who have dropped to sixth place in the Bundesliga, having won just one of their last four league matches.

His biggest weapon earlier in the season — Dortmund’s formidable frontline — has been misfiring. with Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus out of form and top scorer Paco Alcacer injured.

His defence has been equally ineffective, leaking goals in Germany and Europe.

Last week’s three-goal comeback for a 3-3 against Paderborn did nothing to improve Favre’s standing, after losing 4-0 to Bayern Munich the previous match day.

Their 3-1 defeat at Barcelona left their Champions League knockout stage hopes in the balance and means Dortmund have let in 10 goals in their last three games in all competitions.

“That was no step to get us out of the crisis,” said Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc. He said now the team had to start their turnaround in Berlin.

“This is where we want to move closer to the top. It is there that we want to turn the corner.”

It will be more difficult than it sounds against the 15th-placed Berliners, who have lost their last four league matches in a row.

In a surprise move, they hired former Germany and United States coach Juergen Klinsmann on Wednesday to replace Ante Covic, hoping the 1990 World Cup winner can kick-start their season. A point or even a win at home against Dortmund on his debut would be a solid start.

Dortmund are on 20 points, five behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach and four off Bayern and RB Leipzig.

“We urgently have to find a way back to the path of success,” said Dortmund’s licensed players director Sebastian Kehl. “We have to be prepared that Berlin will show a different face.”

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Larry King)