Berlin: Germany's rising star Serge Gnabry said Friday that his unhappy club team-mate Thomas Mueller deserves "more respect" than to be dropped to the bench at Bayern Munich.
"Thomas has achieved everything, he deserves a little more respect," said Gnabry at a Germany press conference in Dortmund in a dig at Bayern head coach Niko Kovac.
On Wednesday, Mueller told magazine Kicker he is "unhappy" about starting the last five Bayern games on the bench, amid reports he wants to leave in January.
The 30-year-old has spent his entire professional career at Bayern, but will "think things over" if Kovac only sees him as a replacement.
Normally, players refuse to answer club questions when with the Germany national side, but Gnabry broke ranks by saying "it's hard to imagine an FCB (Bayern) without Mueller."
"What is clear is that anyone who doesn't play (very often) is dissatisfied," added Gnabry, who scored in Germany's 2-2 draw with Argentina in a friendly on Wednesday.
Kovac has prefered Philippe Coutinho as an attacking midfielder behind Robert Lewandowski, presenting Mueller with few chances so far this season.
Mueller's remarks will have alerted Europe's top clubs, including Manchester United who reportedly bid 100 million euros ($109 million) for him in 2015.
Having joined Bayern as a schoolboy in 2000, Mueller has scored 186 goals in nearly 500 games for Bayern, helping them win the Bundesliga eight times and the 2013 Champions League title.
However, he played just the last 30 minutes of Saturday's shock 2-1 defeat at home to Hoffenheim which led to Bayern losing top spot in the German league table.
Along with Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, Mueller was told by Germany head coach Joachim Loew in March that he will no longer be picked for the national side.