Berlin: Mats Hummels says there is no guarantee Borussia Dortmund will avoid relegation next May after finishing the first-half of the Bundesliga season in the bottom three.
"There is no guarantee things will improve," the Dortmund captain admitted to German daily Bild on Sunday after his side were beaten 2-1 at Werder Bremen on Saturday, which left them 17th in the table.
"Almost all of our first choice players were missing at some point in the first-half of the season and weren`t always 100 percent fit.
"We should manage to get everyone fit during January`s winter break, then we can show a different side when we have our best 15 or 16 players.
"We have had the worst half to the season anyone could have imagined. The worry has been considerable for weeks and the way we are playing, we are right down there."
Dortmund were last relegated from Germany`s top flight in the 1971/72 season, when they finished the first half of the season in 15th, compared to their current ranking of 17th.
Despite scoring Dortmund`s consolation goal in Bremen, Germany star Hummels was one of several below-par performers in his team having been beaten for pace by Bremen`s goal-scorer Davie Selke in the build-up to Werder`s second goal.
Dortmund qualified as group winners ahead of Arsenal for the last 16 of the Champions League, where they have drawn Juventus, but have endured the worst start to a Bundesliga season for 27 years.
Their tally of 15 points from 17 games is their worst since the 1987/88 season.
Having finished as runners-up to Bayern for the last two years, this is the first time Dortmund go into the winter break in a direct relegation spot in the club`s history.
Their ten defeats and just four points picked up away from home are both top-flight low marks.
"The fact that we look like complete idiots on the pitch, serves us right," said coach Jurgen Klopp.
"We played the shittiest first-half of the season in our lives."
But Klopp has said he will ensure Dortmund put in a more convincing display when the season resumes at the end of January when they play fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen away.
"It will be much more difficult to beat us," added Klopp.
"We`re not that far away from climbing out of trouble. We will be a fierce hunter (of those above us), I can promise that."