Borussia Dortmund decline was not down to my injury - Lukasz Piszczek

Lukasz Piszczek has said he believes his injury absence played only a minor role in Borussia Dortmund's struggles since September.

Dortmund led the way in the Bundesliga after taking 19 points from their first seven matches, but their form nosedived and they did not pick up another win until December after sacking coach Peter Bosz.

Right-back Piszczek was ruled out after suffering a knee injury while on international duty with Poland in early October.

He did not return in 2017 and remained the Bundesliga's only undefeated player in the calendar year, picking up 15 wins and five draws from the 20 matches in which he played.

Last week, former Dortmund assistant Hendrie Kruzen said things "went downhill" after the 32-year-old's injury.

But speaking to reporters at Dortmund's winter training camp in Spain, Piszczek said: "I don't think the team depends on me.

"A lot of things happened at that time, and all of them led to us not being that successful any more.

"We never were at 100 percent, not even in the beginning when we still won matches. In the second phase of the first half [of the season], we then ran out of luck."

Piszczek, who joined Dortmund from Hertha Berlin in 2010, is set to return when BVB restart their campaign at home to Wolfsburg on Jan. 13.

Having featured in 275 competitive games for the club, he hopes to finish his career at the Wesfalenstadion.

He is under contract until 2019 and said: "I would love to add another year and, if BVB are up for it, we'll certainly do it."

Captain Marcel Schmelzer, meanwhile, faces a race against time to return to full fitness ahead of the Bundesliga restart.

The left-back did not complete BVB's first training session of the year because of calf problems and is set to miss the next couple of days of training.

United States international midfielder Christian Pulisic also missed Friday's first training session with shinbone problems.