Tuchel puts pressure on Dortmund's Germany stars

Mario Gotze (Getty Images)
Mario Gotze (Getty Images)

Berlin - Thomas Tuchel has set the bar high for Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and put pressure on the club's Germany stars Mario Goetze and Andre Schuerrle.

Three straight draws in their final league games of 2016 left Dortmund sixth in the table, 11 points behind leaders Bayern Munich, but three from third place, with the Bundesliga to resume on January 20.

Now Tuchel has set the goal of reaching the German Cup final in Berlin (on May 27), the Champions League final in Cardiff (June 3) and a third-placed finish in Germany's top flight for the rest of 2016/17.

"Berlin, Cardiff and third place -- then I wouldn't stop smiling," Tuchel told Sky Sports at Dortmund's training camp in Marbella.

Dortmund's head coach pointed the finger directly at under-performing stars Schuerrle and Goetze, who cost Dortmund a total of 52 million euros ($55.4m) at the start of the season from Wolfsburg and Bayern respectively.

It was Schuerrle's cross which Goetze converted for Germany's winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final, but the pair have so far underperformed at Dortmund.

"They must continue to work as hard as they have done so far and I am convinced the reins will come off, which has to happen for them to reach the next level," added Tuchel.

"Both are very ambitious and focused, they are aware there is still room for improvement."

Goetze, either a winger or attacking midfielder, has scored only two goals in his fifteen games since returning after three years at Bayern.

Injury has restricted Schuerrle, normally a winger, to two full appearances in 12 games in all competitions, providing two goals and three assists.

He looked impressive in the striker role and scored in Dortmund's 4-1 win over PSV Eindhoven in a friendly last weekend in Gibraltar.

With Dortmund's star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Cup of Nations duty with Gabon, Schuerrle is a candidate up front for Dortmund's first Bundesliga game of the year at Werder Bremen on January 21.

Dortmund, who finished ahead of holders Real Madrid in their group, face Benfica in the last 16 of the Champions League with the away leg on February 14 and the return on March 8.

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