BORUSSIA DORTMUND have hinted at the reason behind Jude Bellingham's drop off in form.
The England international, 19, enjoyed a tremendous first half of the season before he shone for his country at the World Cup.
But he has struggled to regain that level of performance in recent weeks.
And it is now a month since he registered a goal or assist for the Bundesliga giants.
Sporting director Sebastian Kehl was quizzed about Bellingham's difficulties following Dortmund's 2-2 draw with Schalke over the weekend.
He said: "Maybe he's missing a goal here or there that he scored in the first half of the season.
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"He works. He wants and wants. And yet there are times when that's okay. You also have to admit that a player doesn't always play at the highest level.
"But I know with him that he works hard on himself. That's where it goes."
However, Kehl then hinted at Bellingham carrying an injury after being asked specifically about the bandaging he has been wearing on his left knee.
Kehl replied: "He has been treated regularly over the past few weeks.
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"That may end up costing one or two per cent. We hope that we can get this under control quickly."
Pressed further on the knee problem, he cryptically added: "As long as he can play, everything is fine."
German newspaper Bild described the comments as "disturbing" as Dortmund fans face an anxious wait over the fitness of their star midfielder.
Bellingham has been heavily linked with a move away from Dortmund this summer, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid among the clubs keen to sign him.
Meanwhile, Dortmund's run of eight Bundesliga wins in a row came to an end at the hands of Schalke as they dropped two points behind Bayern Munich in the title race.
It came just four days after Edin Terzic's side were dumped out of the Champions League by Chelsea.
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