Borussia Dortmund need to get their fans back on board after the humiliating 6-0 defeat at Bayern Munich, coach Peter Stoger has said.
Dortmund host Stuttgart on Sunday and remain on course for a return to the Champions League next season with six Bundesliga matches remaining.
But their thrashing in Munich has left some Dortmund supporters close to turning against their team amid fears that a defeat in the derby at Schalke later this month could be the final straw.
“We need to stick together in this fragile situation,” Stoger told his prematch news conference.
“We must give the supporters the feeling that it’s also important for us to play for the Champions League spots to get the stadium on board.
“We are well aware of these things, and these are things we want to tackle during the run-in.”
Stoger called on everyone at Dortmund to pull together to “reach our goals” and said: “At least I have the impression that the different groups are coming together.”
The coach said the humbling at Bayern had not changed the club’s plans and they had “never calculated for the three points” at the Allianz Arena.
Referring to the 3-2 win against Eintracht Frankfurt and the 1-0 victory over Hannover after their Europa League ties with RB Salzburg, Stoger said: “We’ve shown after matches in Europe that we can do it [bounce back].
“We’ve shown that we are capable of getting results. What happened in Munich happened to other clubs too. That we are in the group is anything but nice, but we must take on the situation.”
Germany international Marco Reus and defender Omer Toprak are set to return to the squad, while Ukraine international Andrey Yarmolenko could also be an option following a tendon injury but is more likely to return at Schalke the following week.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.