Bayern players get Germany preference – Hummels

The defender says that Die Schwarzgelben players joke about transfer rumours in training, while revealing that they are confident of finishing second in the Bundesliga

Bayern Munich players get preferential treatment in Germany’s national team, according to Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels.

The 25-year-old, who is one of the only BVB regulars in Joachim Low’s starting line-up, feels that playing at the Allianz Arena is a massive advantage when it comes to Die Mannschaft.

“I believe that, in principle, it is easier to get into the national team if you perform well at Bayern, compared to what the benefits of playing for other clubs are,” Hummels told Welt am Sonntag.

“If someone plays five good games in a row for the Bavarians, there is more talk about them being in the national team than of those who play five good games in a row for Dortmund or Wolfsburg or Bayer Leverkusen.”

Hummels’ status as an automatic starter for Germany has been rocked in the last 12 months due to mediocre showings on the international stage, but the defender says this has only improved his rapport with head coach Low.

“I have to go say very clearly: in this phase, where I’ve had a small crisis, my relationship with the national coach has been much better,” he added.”

“We have since talked very openly. That was very important for me. So I got to know his thoughts and ideas even better. In turn, he has listened to my opinion.”

Barcelona-bound? | Hummels laughed off links with Camp Nou

Hummels has been rumoured for a long while to be a Barcelona target, but he laughed off the suggestion of him leaving Signal Iduna Park in the summer and said that the Bundesliga club do well at replacing departed players with quality ones.

“We do have our jokes about [the transfer rumours] and look at them in a much more relaxed way than many might believe,” he added.

“Also, this is because we have great confidence in the people in our club’s management. I assume that already the new season is being planned and – if we should actually lose players – again good to be fetched.

“Last summer, we brought on board Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.”

However, with Bayern 14 points clear of the Schwarzgelben in the Bundesliga with a game in hand, Hummels has accepted that finishing second is the best Jurgen Klopp’s men can manage this campaign.

“Second place in the Bundesliga is our goal,” the defender continued. “It has to be.

“I’ve never measured success in terms of trophies. I would never say, ‘If I have never won the Champions League, I am not happy in life’.

“I do not necessarily want to play for the best team in the world. I would prefer to win the Champions League with Dortmund than six with another club.”

Thiago: Bayern are not champions yet

The Spain midfielder dismisses suggestions that this season’s Bundesliga title race is already over and warns he has yet to find his best form under Pep Guardiola

Thiago Alcantara has refuted suggestions that Bayern Munich have all but sealed the Bundesliga title for another season.

Die Roten have already built a commanding lead in this season’s championship, with nearest challengers Bayer Leverkusen 10 points adrift after their 2-1 victory over Stuttgart.

The Bavarians remain unbeaten in the league this season as they look to retain the title they won at a canter in 2012-13, but Thiago – who scored the winner in the dying minutes on Wednesday – insists the pressure from the chasing pack remains a concern.

“We are not champions yet,” the 22-year-old said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.

“It’s true, I would not have previously believed that we would already have such a lead but things can also quickly get away from you again. We cannot let up.

“Sure, we sometimes have had games that were much simpler than we would have expected but there were also games that were very close, where we were lucky, where we won by only one goal.

“We have come closer to winning the championship – nothing more.

“We always have pressure. The pressure does not depend on how far we are away from the team in second. The pressure never diminishes. Even if we led by 50 points we would have mega-pressure that would not subside.”

Thiago’s acrobatic 93rd-minute winner against Stuttgart was his first goal in German football since his summer move from Barcelona, and the Spaniard insists he has yet to hit top form under Pep Guardiola this season.

“You have not even see the 100-per-cent Thiago yet,” said the 22-year-old.

“There is still room for improvement. I’ve not been here long and I was initially injured. I’m still learning how to play with my team-mates.

“Pep can be satisfied for only five seconds of a game,” he added of his head coach.

“He wants to win everything. He is always thinking ahead. Five seconds after the end of the game he is already thinking about the next game.”

Bayern, who have 50 points from 18 games, host Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday and will be looking to extend their lead back to 13 points.

Bayern: We won't sell Kroos to Man Utd

The midfielder, whose current deal expires in 2015, has been targeted by Old Trafford and die Roten’s transfer chief fears he may not renew his contract

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer says the club will not sell Toni Kroos to Manchester United despite the midfielder’s hesitation to sign a new contract.

The 24-year-old’s current deal with the European champions expires in June 2015, while David Moyes was pictured speaking with the midfielder’s agent during a scouting trip in January.

Man Utd interest in Kroos in January was not enough to trigger a bid for the Bayern star, who refused to commit his future to Pep Guardiola’s side, but the Roten chief says they will not sell Kroos on regardless of whether or not he signs.

“We won’t sell Toni before his contract ends,” Sammer told Suddeutschen Zeitung. “I’ll repeat what Uli Hoeness said: Bayern are a buying club, not a selling club.

“We all want him to extend his deal with us, there is no doubt about that. But he’s not a simple case. At the moment we can’t say the chances that he’ll stay are 80-20 or 70-30.

“Sometimes Toni still thinks too much about his own performance, but he has the ability to eventually take responsibility for our entire team’s performance.”

Bayern Munich-Eintracht Frankfurt Preview: Bavarians buoyed by Ribery return

Bayern Munich are set to welcome back Franck Ribery for Sunday’s home game against Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Bavarians are hardly in need of a boost having gone 43 games unbeaten in the Bundesliga, but look likely to have an additional option at their disposal this weekend.

France international Ribery is expected to make his return for Pep Guardiola’s side having not appeared since the middle of December with muscular problems.

Struggling Frankfurt certainly go into the game as underdogs, but lost by just a solitary goal – scored by Mario Mandzukic – when the two sides met in August.

Armin Veh’s side have pulled two points clear of the bottom three courtesy of recent wins over Bayer Leverkusen and Hertha Berlin.

Thiago Alcantara’s stoppage-time volley secured a 2-1 win over Stuttgart on Wednesday to keep Bayern’s remarkable run going and Thomas Muller is confident they can make it 44 unbeaten.

“We’re capable of turning games around,” he told the club’s official website. “We picked ourselves up at half-time [against Stuttgart] and went for it.

“I’m looking forward to it [facing Frankfurt]; it’s always easier on the back of two wins. I hope we maintain our momentum, have a really good game and entertain the fans.

“They’re not going to gift us the points, but provided we’re focused and aggressive there can only be one winner.”

Veh remains hopeful that Frankfurt can spring a shock at the Allianz Arena.

“We will play something different,” he said. “I’m realistic, so cannot say we have a good chance.

“But as an athlete you want to get the most out of it and if possible, create a very, very, very big surprise.”

Veh is already without Stefano Celozzi, Bastian Oczipka, Sonny Kittel and Marc Stendera, but will also rest Sebastian Rode and Carlos Zambrano to ensure that they do not trigger suspensions.

Holger Badstuber and Bastian Schweinsteiger are still missing for Bayern, but otherwise Guardiola has a full squad to select from, with Mario Mandzukic pushing for a starting spot after making an impact as a substitute against Stuttgart.

Bayern want to destroy Dortmund, claims Watzke

The BVB supremo claims the German champions are only out to sign their rivals’ best players but has stressed his side will continue to try to strengthen their team

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has hit out at Bayern Munich, claiming the Bavarians aim to destroy their rivals by signing their best players.

Bayern snatched Mario Gotze from BVB last summer and they recently announced that Robert Lewandowski will be the next Dortmund star to make the move to the Allianz Arena in June.

Watzke believes Bayern’s dominance has turned the Bundesliga into a one-team championship race and claims Pep Guardiola’s side simply want to stop the likes of Dortmund from ever becoming a threat in future.

“There is currently no other league that is dominated by one single club like Bayern in the Bundesliga. The situation is not like in the Spanish Liga, but is more like in the Scottish league,” Watzke told reporters.

“Bayern are hitting back now [after Dortmund’s two titles]. They want to destroy us to make sure we will never be a danger to them again.

“And they are doing so by signing our players.

“We don’t stand a chance when our players can earn twice as much elsewhere. Despite everything, we will not change our strategy, though.”

Watzke went on to stress that Dortmund will not hesitate to spend big at the end of the season in order to be ready to challenge Bayern again.

“We will invest again in the summer and we are not talking about small figures. We will do a lot during the summer.

“We’ll see what we can get for the funds that we have available. We are looking to prove a point. There’s wiggling room for an increase in our wage budget as well.”

Bayern currently hold a 13-point lead over Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga table, with Dortmund trailing by 17 points in third place.