BERLIN — Borussia Dortmund was held 0-0 by draw specialist Wolfsburg on Sunday after leaving out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from its squad for “disciplinary reasons” for the second time this season.
Dortmund announced the decision to drop its star striker before the Bundesliga game, but neither the 17-year-old Jadon Sancho nor 18-year-old Alexander Isak proved an adequate replacement.
Dortmund had 19 efforts on goal compared to the visitors’ nine.
Wolfsburg has now drawn 11 of its 18 games so far.
Sancho became the first English player to start for Dortmund in the league but he endured a frustrating game, firing a good chance over in the second half.
Isak hit the post toward the end of the first half, and Andrey Yarmolenko missed an open goal after it, before Sancho struck the post from a narrow angle.
But it wasn’t all Dortmund on the attack. Goalkeeper Roman Buerki was called into action to deny Wolfsburg chances on the break.
Dortmund missed the chance to go second and instead dropped one place to fourth. There were whistles from frustrated home fans at full time.
Aubameyang, who has 13 league goals this season, was suspended from the squad for failing to turn up for a club appointment on Saturday.
Coach Peter Stoeger said it showed that the Gabon striker was “not so focused at the moment.”
Buerki said after the game it was a “logical decision.”
Stoeger’s predecessor Peter Bosz dropped Aubameyang in November for inviting a film crew to the club’s facilities and then turning up late for training, while previous coach Thomas Tuchel dropped him for taking an unsanctioned trip to Milan.
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said he expected Aubameyang to turn up for training on Monday “like any other player.”
But Zorc criticized the 28-year-old player for his behavior, saying he had always been professional until his various infringements.
“I’m looking at it over the longer term. From the point of view of indiscipline, missing appointments, there comes a point when it’s no longer tolerated and that’s where we are today,” Zorc said.
“It brings unease into the team and that’s not good,” Zorc added.
Simon Terodde scored with the last touch of the ball for Cologne to beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 in the Rhine derby and rekindle its slim hopes of escaping relegation.
Raffael equalized for Moenchengladbach with just over 20 minutes remaining, but Konstantin Rausch crossed from the left for Terodde to head in Cologne’s dramatic winner in the sixth minute of injury time.
Cologne, which remains bottom after the worst start made by any side in the league, cut the gap on Hamburger SV to six points ahead of their clash next weekend.
Frederik Sorensen put Cologne ahead 10 minutes before the break, but Raffael struck after a period of pressure from the visitors.
Terodde secured Cologne’s second win of the season.