Robert Lewandowski will have to fulfil his contractual obligations and accept Bayern Munich's decision to keep him amid interest from Barcelona.

That is the message from former Bayern president Uli Hoeness, who also lamented the rulings of the Bundesliga restricting the German top flight from competing in Europe.

Lewandowski has made his intentions to leave Bayern clear, declaring his story with Julian Nagelsmann's side "over" despite having 12 months left on his contract.

Barcelona are widely regarded to be the striker's preferred destination.

Despite Bayern's stance on Lewandowski, Stats Perform understands that the Bundesliga champions have struck a deal with Liverpool to sign Sadio Mane, which might clear the way for the Poland forward to leave.

However, there remains questions to the finances behind a Barca deal for Lewandowski, with Bayern reluctant to sell and the Catalan club battling well-documented financial issues.

Hoeness, who retired as Bayern president in November 2019 after 49 years with the club as player and in management, says Lewandowski can have no complaints over Bayern's decision should they elect to remain steadfast on their wish to keep him.

"[He has] joined the position of FC Bayern: that is, to exercise the right to have the contract fulfilled if no alternative is found," Hoeness said in an interview with G14 Plus.

"I assume that Robert will accept it in the end."

 

While the transfer speculation continues with Lewandowski, Hoeness also expressed his disappointment with the Bundesliga.

Bayern claimed their record 10th straight title in the 2021-22 campaign, with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig offering little to challenge at the summit.

German sides have won the Champions League just twice in the last 10 years – Bayern doing so in 2013 and 2020 – and Hoeness suggested this is due to the 50+1 ownership rule.

The German Football League (DFL) ruling stipulates clubs will not be allowed to play in the Bundesliga if commercial investors have more than a 49 per cent stake, diminishing the power of potential investors.

"If the Bundesliga – this does not apply to Bayern Munich – does not think about abolishing the 50+1 rule, we will have big problems in being able to keep up internationally in the long term," Hoeness added.

Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness mocked Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for their failure to win the Champions League despite their vast resources.

City were acquired by Abu Dhabi United Group – backed by Sheikh Mansour – in 2008, while PSG were bought by Qatar Sports Investments three years later, with the company's chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, becoming the club's president.

The two clubs have gone on to achieve extraordinary success domestically, with City winning five Premier League titles and PSG claiming seven Ligue 1 crowns since their respective takeovers.

However, neither club has managed to win the Champions League.

Both have gone close in recent years, though City were beaten in the final by Chelsea last season and PSG were bested in the showpiece event by Hoeness' Bayern the year before.

That was Bayern's second success in the competition since 2011, the other occasion being their 2-1 defeat of Borussia Dortmund in 2013 after losing the final on penalties to Chelsea the year before.

Hoeness takes great pride in Bayern pipping their richer counterparts to club football's most coveted European trophy and insisted the Bavarian giants will remain ahead of both sides. 

"So far they haven't won anything," Hoeness said on the 11 Leben podcast. "Nothing at all. The two teams don't have a single Champions League title.

"They will continue to lose against us. Not always, but sometimes. That has to be the goal, and if we win against them, I'm really happy. This is what stimulates me to show them, 'your s****y money, that's not enough!'

"The difference between [PSG president Al-Khelaifi] and me is: I worked hard for the money and he got it as a gift. He doesn't need to work for that. When he wants a player, he will find his emir."

City and PSG were both drawn into Group A of this year's Champions League and the pair are battling for top spot in the table, with Pep Guardiola's men one point ahead of Mauricio Pochettino's side after four matches.

Bayern, meanwhile, have won each of their four group-stage games and are already through to the knockout stages, sitting six points ahead of Barcelona in Group E.

Joachim Low insisted it was not the right time to discuss possible recalls for Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels in the aftermath of Germany's shock 2-1 loss to North Macedonia.

Eljif Elmas scored late on in Duisburg - Ilkay Gundogan having earlier cancelled out Goran Pandev's opener from the penalty spot - to inflict a first World Cup qualifying defeat on Germany since September 2001 - a run spanning 35 matches.

The defeat leaves Die Mannschaft third in Group J, level on points with North Macedonia and three points behind pacesetters Armenia, who have won all three matches so far.

Speaking to RTL after the game, Bayern Munich honorary president Uli Hoeness suggested Low - who has announced he will end his tenure as head coach after Euro 2020 - should bring Muller and Hummels back into the national team.

The duo, as well as Bayern defender Jerome Boateng, have not played for their country since November 2018, but Low recently hinted each player remains in his plans for this year's tournament.

"Hummels is a player with strong aerial ability and someone who has a lot of experience," Hoeness said. "He can definitely give this team something.

"Muller also definitely belongs in the squad. He's always good for goals and can help any team in the world in certain situations."

But when asked again about those absent players after the North Macedonia game, Low told RTL: "This question cannot be answered now. The decision will be made in May. It is something to think about in the next few days and weeks."

The defeat for Germany was just their third ever in World Cup qualifying and leaves them with work to do when they resume their campaign in September.

There may well have been a different outcome on Wednesday had Timo Werner made more of a glorious chance that fell his way five minutes before Elmas' winner, the substitute forward dragging wide in a one-on-on opportunity.

"He has to score that, no question about it," Low said of Werner's late miss, coming from the Chelsea attacker's only touch of the ball in the opposition penalty area.

"He doesn't hit the ball properly, otherwise it's a goal. Timo blames himself the most. That was a bad moment in a period in which we were on top in the game."

Low had previously criticised his players for their profligacy in the 1-0 win over Romania on Sunday, which followed on from a 3-0 victory at home to Iceland.

Germany had 11 shots against North Macedonia but tested visiting goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski with just two of those, with Serge Gnabry - the match-winner against Romania last time out - wasting two chances of his own in the first half.

"There is no magic formula," Low said. "You can train all you want, but it is difference in a competitive match. We were too hesitant to finish.

"We weren't consistent. With the score at 1-1, Timo had that huge chance. We have to look back at the chances and talk about it."

Gundogan had drawn Germany on level terms but his side were caught out at the back for a second time for the winning goal.

"The fact is, that should not be happening," Gundogan said. "It felt like they were in front of our goal twice and scored twice - it was too easy for them.

"We had many chances and only scored one goal. We didn't defend well with either goal - twice they had a man in the middle completely free.

"I leave with a bad feeling. It hurts all the more that we won't play again for three months. We have to get in top form by the end of May and prepare for the Euros."

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