Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus has labelled the timing of the announcement of Mario Gotze's move to Bayern Munich "stupid and unfortunate" as his side prepares to host Real Madrid.
The Germans' preparations for the Champions League semifinal have been completely overshadowed by the previous day's news that the 20-year-old will move to the Allianz Arena this summer.
Reus admits that the news could not have come at a worse time for Dortmund but has urged fans to get behind Gotze in a key part of the season.
"Today is THE game," the former Borussia Monchengladbach man wrote on his Facebook page. "We're looking forward to Real Madrid and we want to reach the Champions League final. Nothing will distract us from our goal - not even the news which everyone in Germany has been talking about.
"Mario has made a decision for his future. We have to respect that. The timing of the announcement was certainly stupid and unfortunate. But no one should believe that Mario is responsible for that."
The forward went on to ask fans to back off of his teammate and just enjoy the spectacle of a Champions League semifinal.
"I think that some of the comments about Mario which I heard or read on Facebook are below the belt. He doesn't deserve that. He has a lot to thank you and Dortmund for, but BVB also owe him. Let's not forget that.
"Please, let's look forward and celebrate a great night of football together - including Mario of course!"
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