Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre has cast further doubt on the future of Mario Gotze by admitting he does not suit the current system.
The midfielder confirmed in April that he was planning to leave BVB at the end of the season as he sought a new direction for his career, although CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke later suggested Gotze could decide to sign a new contract.
The 27-year-old has started just five Bundesliga matches this season and only came on in the 87th minute in last week's 4-0 derby win over Schalke, Dortmund's first match since the competition restarted after weeks of suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Favre expects to use Gotze in the remaining matches of 2019-20 but concedes the 2014 World Cup winner's style does not fit his preferred formation.
"Right now, we are playing 3-4-3," he said ahead of Saturday's clash with Wolfsburg. "So, I have been talking to Mario Gotze, and unfortunately this is not the right system for him. You must say the truth about this.
"Of course, he is able to play half-left or half-right, but we will see. There are still many games ahead of us and we need to count on every single player."
One player who is undoubtedly key to Dortmund's title challenge is Julian Brandt, who assisted two goals in a superb performance against Schalke.
Favre suggested the former Bayer Leverkusen man's versatility is the kind of quality Gotze needs to earn back his place.
"Julian Brandt is able to play many different positions in different systems," said Favre. "That shows great quality.
"Playing in a 4-3-3 is not the same as playing in a 3-4-3, playing on the wings or between the lines. He does this very well.
"You must not forget he played in midfield with only one or two additional players and he also played as striker against Slavia Prague. I like this very much because as a coach you get a lot of opportunities with a player like this. He is performing very well. He has to keep up his development like it is right now."
Sporting director Michael Zorc added: "He is a fantastic player - that's why we tried so hard for him and finally signed him for BVB. I have not seen many players with his potential, but of course he can still get better."