Swiss coach Lucien Favre has hinted that he may leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season after defeat by Bayern Munich left his team seven points adrift of the champions in the Bundesliga title race with six games left.
For the second season running under Favre, second-placed Dortmund find themselves wanting at the tail end of the campaign with Bayern now firmly on course for an eighth straight league title.
The Swiss gave a resigned grin when asked if Tuesday's 1-0 home loss to Bayern behind closed doors, settled by Joshua Kimmich's deft chip, proved Favre does not have what it takes for Dortmund to break Bayern's monopoly on the German league.
"That's been said here for months," said Favre, 62, who has a year left on his Dortmund contract.
"I know how these things go and I will talk about it in a few weeks.
"I'm staying calm and I trust in myself."
The home defeat in Dortmund came on the back of a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Bayern last November at Munich's Allianz Arena.
According to German daily Bild on Wednesday, Dortmund's bosses made contact "in the past few months" with Niko Kovac, who was sacked by Bayern in November, as a possible successor to Favre.
After Favre said he will make a future announcement, Germany legend and Sky pundit Lothar Matthaeus commented "as soon as I heard that, I thought 'Favre will leave and Kovac will come'".
Bild also claim that RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann is Dortmund's ideal candidate, but the 32-year-old is under contract until 2023.
Favre has all but waved the white flag on bridging the gap in the table, even though Bayern must still face Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, who have already both beaten them this season.
"It's going be difficult - seven points (to make up) in six games, that is brutally hard," said Favre.