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Dortmund sign midfielder Witsel from Tianjin

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Transfer Rater: Martial to Real Madrid

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Witsel expected back in China amid Dortmund links

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Nuri Sahin: Borussia Dortmund players must step up to secure Champions League

Nuri Sahin has been a bit-part player for Borussia Dortmund this season.

Nuri Sahin says Borussia Dortmund's players must shoulder the blame for the club's disappointing season.

Sahin, 29, also urged Dortmund supporters to get behind the team in their battle for Champions League football.

On Sunday, Dortmund beat Stuttgart 3-0 to bounce back from the embarrassing 6-0 defeat at Bayern Munich. Going into the final five matches, Dortmund now have a five-point cushion inside the Champions League places and, along with second-placed Schalke, are favourites to secure qualification.

Speaking to Sky after the match, Sahin, who made a rare start, said that the squad must have full confidence over the remaining fixtures.

"We can't do any transfers, can't throw out any players, and can't allow a player three weeks to find his best form," Sahin said. "We need every single one, and that's also my plea to everyone meaning well for Borussia: We need them, we need the stadium, we need everyone to reach our goals.

Christian Pulisic celebrates his fortunate opener.
Borussia Dortmund celebrate after Christian Pulisic scored against Stuttgart.

"Once the season's over, you need an uncompromising analysis of the situation. And we the players will be on top of the list."

Dortmund have suffered a mediocre season with several low points in both the Bundesliga and in Europe, meaning the atmosphere at the Westfalenstadion remains far from good.

Several players could be sold at the end of the season, with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke questioning the squad's mentality.

Another summer of upheaval will follow both on and off the pitch, where Matthias Sammer and Sebastian Kehl are set to take on roles within the club's hierarchy and Peter Stoger's tenure as interim coach will come to an end.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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