Schmelzer issues Dortmund rallying cry as last-16 hopes hang by a thread
Marcel Schmelzer issued a rallying cry to Borussia Dortmund after Wednesday's disappointing 1-1 draw against APOEL left their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.
Raphael Guerreiro's opener was just reward for a dominant first-half showing from Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park, but a failure to add to that goal was punished by Mickael Pote's equaliser just after the break.
The hosts continued to pile forward and the usually prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the crossbar and missed another great chance in injury time.
Consequently, Dortmund are five points adrift of second-place Real Madrid in Group H and even a win against Tottenham next time out might not be enough to keep their last-16 chances alive.
In the Bundesliga, Peter Bosz's men have failed to win their past three matches and face Bayern Munich in a crucial Klassiker on Saturday with the pressure growing fast.
"We created lots of chances, especially before the break, and should have scored more," captain Schmelzer said.
"It's a difficult time for us at the moment and we have to get through this together with the coach. It is difficult, but our commitment was right.
"We created chances, so we made a step forward compared to the first match at APOEL. We have to work hard to get out of this tricky situation."
Team-mate Omer Toprak, who had a second-half header cleared off the line, added: "What we spoke about in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. Things did not work out like we intended.
"We had lots of chances and did not capitalise, they had one chance and scored. We are disappointed. We have to score more goals than just one from 26 shots.
"At the moment it is difficult, but we will come through this together."
APOEL defender Georgios Merkis hailed the collective effort in leaving Dortmund with a point.
"It was a really tough game. Dortmund are strong, especially at home, but we fought well. They are a quality side but our spirit prevailed," he said.
"We grabbed a point and could have maybe snatched a late winner. We are delighted with the result but we now have ground to gain back in Cyprus in the league.
"There is no secret to stopping Dortmund. We managed to shut down the dangerous players. It was a team effort to contain them."