Bayern Munich may be expected to chalk up another Bundesliga win against Hoffenheim on Sunday but all is not well with the league leaders.
Their coach Pep Guardiola is reportedly cracking down as he seeks a treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup trophies in his last season in charge with his next destination likely to be Manchester City.
His predecessor Jupp Heynckes managed the feat in his final campaign in 2013.
Despite an eight-point lead over Borussia Dortmund in the league, where Bayern have dropped just five points all season, Kicker magazine reported that the relationship between Guardiola and his players was coming under strain.
The Spanish coach is said to be unhappy with some players’ professionalism and their behaviour on days off, with trips abroad causing particular annoyance. Kicker also said Guardiola criticised players for being overweight before the league resumed after its month-long winter break last weekend.
Bayern’s injury problems have revealed some tension at the club, with Jérôme Boateng the latest added to a long list. The Germany defender has been ruled out until at least the latter stages of the season with a groin injury sustained in last Friday’s 2-1 win at Hamburg.
Boateng’s absence is a blow for Bayern before the Champions League last-16 match with Juventus on 23 February.
The Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge indicated his frustration when he told the dpa news agency that he recommended the German football federation “keeps back” from Boateng “or there’ll be stress with Bayern”.
The Germany coach Joachim Löw had suggested he would give Boateng every chance to recover for the European Championship in France.
Rummenigge also revealed Boateng had consulted the former Bayern doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt. Müller-Wohlfahrt had quit Bayern after 38 years in April 2015 after rowing with Guardiola over the club’s injury list.
Boateng joins Franck Ribéry, Mario Götze, Medhi Benatia, Rafinha and Sven Ulreich among Bayern’s casualties.
Guardiola will need to come up with solutions, with Xabi Alonso, Holger Badstuber or Javi Martínez likely to fill in. “I have huge trust in Guardiola and the team,” Rummenigge insisted.