OLIVER BIERHOFF has admitted that there is "friction" in the German camp ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Friday.
The feel-good factor that has surrounded the national team since their bold showing at the World Cup in South Africa has all but disappeared since their defeat by Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-final in June.
"There is friction (in the camp)," admitted general manager Bierhoff at yesterday's tense press conference in Frankfurt.
Bierhoff was at pains to insist the discord in the ranks was simply a natural by-product of increased competition and as such not negative per se.
"We have a strong Bayern bloc, a strong Dortmund bloc, two confident players from Real Madrid (Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil) and the two Londoners (Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski)," said the 44-year-old.
"We've rarely had a situation where so many players felt they should start.
"We are happy and grateful this is the case. Of course, there will be some who'll be unhappy about not getting in but the team spirit has been totally sound and I'm sure it will continue to be so."
Bierhoff has admitted that Friday's game with Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland and next Tuesday's clash with Sweden will have a huge bearing on the group.
"The target is qualification and we have a lot of work to do in these two games," said Bierhoff.
"These are the two toughest opponents in the group. After the last campaign when we won all 10 games, expectations are high."
Germany only named one recognised striker, Miroslav Klose, in their ranks for Friday's game but the Polish-born forward has come in for criticism from Bayern president Uli Hoeness.
The Lazio hitman is only four strikes short of Gerd Müller's national record of 68 goals but the Bayern boss thinks his achievements need to be put into perspective.
"Müller scored against England, France and Italy," said Hoeness, "whereas Klose scored at least 80 per cent of his goals against Liechtenstein (and other minnows)."
Bierhoff defended Klose stating: "I'm disappointed about these comments.
"Klose has been of great service to this team.
"We should all pull together instead of fostering unnecessary disquiet."