Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp said the announcement that Mario Gotze is to join Bayern Munich this summer could hardly have come at a worse time.
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News broke late on Monday night that Germany international Gotze, 20, was to move to the German champions after they agreed to pay his release clause, and the transfer was confirmed by the two clubs on Tuesday morning.
The deal had apparently been in place for around a fortnight and, with Dortmund preparing for a Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid on Wednesday, the timing of the publication threatens to create a significant distraction.
Klopp told a press conference that the leak of the transfer rated "nine out of ten" for bad timing, although he joked: "It could have been worse - it could have been four hours before the game."
He revealed he had heard the news the day after his team's dramatic quarter-final success against Malaga, adding: "I only had one day to celebrate the victory. I have an advantage on most of the others."
Bayern, who take on Barcelona in Tuesday night's Champions League semi-final, had insisted in an official statement that their intention had been to contact Dortmund about the transfer after the Real Madrid match. Klopp said he believes that to be the case.
"Bayern Munich had no interest in tripping us up ahead of the game," he said. "Mario Gotze didn't either, and nor did his agent. So there's not a lot of people left then [who wanted to harm us]."
ZDF indicated that the news had come from a Munich source, and Klopp added: "Of course, the timing was bad, but everyone can guess why it was made public now."
The coach said the only reason Gotze had extended his contract in March 2012 was because of the €37 million release clause, and highlighted the fact such clauses had previously worked in Dortmund's favour.
"About a year ago we triggered the €17 million release clause in Marco Reus' contract. I guess Gladbach supporters weren't too happy about that one either."
He added: "Mario Gotze has not turned against his team-mates or against the club. He owes the club a lot and he knows that, and the club owes him a lot and I know that. It is just that he is a Pep Guardiola favourite. I can't shorten myself by 15cm and start speaking Spanish.
"I believe everyone should be able to digest the news and understand it. I am in charge of the team and I hope the fans will take their time to digest it."
Klopp said the situation would make Dortmund even more determined to progress to the final.
"We will do everything we can to ensure that whoever wanted to distract us will have no success," he said. "It is a now-more-than-ever situation."