Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze benched; Germany World Cup hopes in balance
Mario Gotze's hopes of a place in Germany's World Cup squad remain in the balance after the Borussia Dortmund midfielder played just four minutes against Schalke at the weekend.
Having completed the full 90 minutes at Bayern Munich a fortnight ago, Gotze was benched against Stuttgart and again vs. Schalke, making a late appearance in the 2-0 defeat.
"Mario surely is a talented player, a good player," Stoger told his postmatch news conference. "We had other players who could have started as well. This applies to Mario Gotze as well as other players."
Gotze, the scorer of the 2014 World Cup-winning goal against Argentina, was not selected for the recent international friendlies against Spain and Brazil, and now has only four club games left in which to impress national coach Joachim Low.
Last weekend, Gotze told Bild he was aware that Dortmund's forthcoming games were "extremely important for me" as far as the World Cup was concerned.
Dortmund, meanwhile, have yet to announce their coach for next season but are reportedly still interested in Nice boss Lucien Favre.
On Monday, Austrian outlet Salzburger Nachrichten said BVB were also interested in RB Salzburg coach Marco Rose, who has guided his team to the Europa League semifinals.
Speaking ahead of the Schalke game, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said the club were "extremely grateful" for Stoger's services since December and added: "We have always said that a longer cooperation with Peter is possible."
Speaking to WDR radio on Sunday, Stoger, however, appeared to signal that he was not interested in renewing his deal.
"My contract runs through to June 30, and that's good as it is," the Austrian, who has reportedly received €3 million for his six months at the club, said.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.