Christian Pulisic plays down Dortmund crisis: 'It can only get better'

DORTMUND, Germany -- United States international Christian Pulisic insisted his Borussia Dortmund team are not in crisis after a disappointing 1-1 draw against APOEL in the Champions League meant their fifth winless match in six tries.

"Obviously we are not happy with tonight's performance," the 19-year-old midfielder told ESPN FC after the game on Wednesday. "We have to win this game and we had enough chances but in the end, we just come away with a draw."

After four Champions League match days, Dortmund have just two points in Group H and now have only a mathematical chance to beat Real Madrid for a top-two finish with leaders Tottenham already out of reach and qualified for the knockouts.

Pulisic said: "Our start in the Champions League couldn't have gone worse. Now we, of course, have to fight to at least secure third place."

The hosts were in full control on Wednesday night at the Westfalenstadion with left-back Raphael Guerreiro opening the scoring the 29th minute, tucking away a perfectly weighted through ball from Shinji Kagawa.

Dortmund, who were boasting close to 77 percent possession, failed to add a second goal and were shocked by Nicosia striker Mickael Pote, who finished off a counter-attack with a shot on the turn in the 51st minute.

"I think we actually played quite well," Pulisic said. "We had many moments but the goals didn't come.

"Yes, we were a bit shocked after the 1-1. It was their only chance of the game and they scored, but we still had 30 minutes to play. It just didn't go our way today. Maybe it's fair to say that we had a bit of bad luck in recent games but it's not a crisis at the moment. Everything is well and we will carry on and fight."

Pulisic also denied that heads had dropped in the locker room after a streak of poor results.

"We had a very good start in the Bundesliga," he said. "But we knew that it wouldn't go on like that forever. Although things aren't going exactly well right now, we are keeping our heads up and will try to battle through it. We have an important game on the weekend against Bayern."

The Black and Yellows have blown a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table to trail Bayern Munich by three points heading into Der Klassiker on Saturday. Asked what his hopes were for a turnaround in form, Pulisic answered with a wry smile: "Because things are going so badly, it can only get better."

Teammate Mario Gotze was equally dissatisfied with Wednesday's result, saying the result had to be better given all the possession and chances Dortmund created.

Gotze said: "We have to be ice cold in front of goal and double the lead before the break. We were pushing for a second goal, even after we conceded the equaliser but instead of scoring, we rattled the crossbar.

"The momentum just isn't with us at the moment, which I think is the problem. The crucial moments of the games are going against us.

"Two points after four games is not what he had imagined. Drawing 1-1 at home against Nicosia is not good when looking at our situation in the Champions League.

"We are maybe lacking confidence in front of goal a bit. We know that things can return quickly after you score a couple but, again, two points in four games is not meeting our ambition."