Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac believes Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller will have extra motivation against Wolfsburg this weekend after being told this week they would no longer be selected to play for Germany.
Germany coach Joachim Low announced on Tuesday that he wanted to freshen up the national team and the trio – who were key players during their 2014 World Cup triumph and who have almost 250 caps between them – would no longer feature in his plans.
It leaves Boateng, Hummels and Muller free to concentrate on their clubs careers, with Bayern firmly in the hunt for another Bundesliga title after closing the gap on leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Only goal difference now separates to two teams ahead of Bayern’s home game against Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Kovac told the club’s official website: “I know that my players were surprised by Low’s decision, but they are real pros and they know how to handle this situation in a serious way.
“I even expect, especially in the coming weeks, a response from them to show and prove that they are still part of the best (team).
“The boys are fully focused now and I’m convinced that they will let their performances do the talking.”
Bayern have won 11 of their last 12 Bundesliga matches but Wolfsburg are also in decent form, having won eight of their last 13 in the league.
“This is a very important game for us,” said Kovac, whose team could finish the weekend top of the table heading into the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Liverpool.
“We’re on a good run and we want to continue that. Wolfsburg are also in good form – they are the second best away team in the league. We need to be on red alert.”
Kovac was without six players for last weekend’s 5-1 win at Borussia Monchengladbach but he has David Alaba, Leon Goretzka and Franck Ribery back in contention against Wolfsburg.
However, Corentin Tolisso, Arjen Robben and Kingsley Coman are out, although Kovac said of Coman that he is “confident he can play a part in the Liverpool game” at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.