Bayern Munich vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger hit back on Tuesday at criticism of his lack of leadership on the pitch by former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.
"I can still remember how Oliver Kahn used to hate nothing more than criticism from ex-colleagues which were expressed through the media," Schweinsteiger told German daily Bild about his former Munich team-mate. "For such a great player, I expect that he remembers his words."
Bayern face FC Zurich in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off at Munich's Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
The Bavarian giants have made a faltering start to their German league campaign with a 1-0 shock defeat at home to Monchengladbach on the opening weekend of the season. They then needed a late goal to win at 2009 champions Wolfsburg last Saturday.
Kahn has accused Schweinsteiger and Bayern captain Philipp Lahm of lacking authority on the pitch, saying the pair are complicit in Munich's ten-year lull on the European stage, the team having last won the Champions League title in 2001.
"Does the lull in titles not perhaps lie with a generation of players like Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who vehemently deny a team needs players to lead it?" Kahn, who retired in 2008, wrote on his blog. "Players who put their fingers in the wound and express uncomfortable truths, which is more important than their own success, players who are willing to drive and demand what ever it takes for success?"
Schweinsteiger would not comment on Kahn's allegations, but disagreed with the ex-Germany captain's suggestion that criticism is no longer expressed openly at Bayern. "The matters are analysed internally and also addressed quite clearly," he said.
In Bild, Kahn defended his position by saying his opinions were based "on years of experience" and result "from numerous conversations" having been at Bayern since 1994 and captained the side from 2003 until 2008. "Without real leaders, the Bundesliga clubs will have to still wait a long time to win international titles," he said.