Bavarian power for Germany

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"I'm grateful to Jupp Heynckes across the board," said Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff in praise of the Bayern head coach on Wednesday. Seven FCB players have been called up for Germany's two friendlies. Thomas Müller & Co will be the core of the team in the internationals against Spain and Brazil.

"He develops players and oversees a number of our national team players," added the 49-year-old. "We know he values national team players. He creates an environment in which the players can prepare well. Besides, the players get good feedback on what they have to do. It helps in the preparations for the World Cup, their form when they join us and their confidence."

Competition as a means

The Bayern players are oozing confidence, and they are supposed to infect their Germany teammates with it. On Tuesday the players trained for the first time following marketing appointments on Monday. Sebastian Rudy missed the session, staying in Munich with his heavily pregnant wife, as agreed with Joachim Löw. Everyone else worked out in a highly competitive session.

The competition in the squad is a good sign ahead of the summer's tournament in Russia, according to Müller. "We don't have eight or 11 top players here, but 20 to 25. The competition is a means to keep up the performance level. Everyone's challenged," commented the 28-year-old, who is thinking more and more about the World Cup. "You're confronted with it again and again. And of course you're looking forward to it, even if a crucial period awaits us at club level after the internationals."

The two heavyweight encounters with Spain and Brazil are dress rehearsals for the World Cup finals. "Two top matches await us - we're up against superb teams. It's fun to compete with the best," said the forward, looking forward to the matches.

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