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German clubs losing ground in UCL

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Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich backed for Germany by Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben has backed his Bayern Munich teammate Joshua Kimmich to win his first cap for Germany.

Kimmich, 21, was brought into the Bayern starting XI in early 2016, when centre-backs Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber sustained injuries and new signing Serdar Tasci struggled for form.

The former RB Leipzig midfielder was moved back into the centre of defence by coach Pep Guardiola, where he has played the full 90 minutes in eight of the last nine competitive matches, and only was absent in the 2-1 defeat to Mainz last Wednesday.

On Saturday, Kimmich was praised for his performance in the goalless draw at chasers Dortmund, where he played a major role in keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus quiet.

"I love this boy," Guardiola said of Kimmich postmatch, and passed on his "huge, towering, madness compliments" to the youngster.

Sporting executive Matthias Sammer was one of many to back the idea of including the youngster in the Germany squad this summer.

Sammer said: "There are only two options for Kimmich in the summer. The European Championships or the Olympic Games. That's one for the coaches to decide."

Speaking on Sky Germany on Monday night, Bayern winger Robben also backed Kimmich to win his first Germany call-up after only 16 Bundesliga appearances.

"If he plays on like that, he belongs into the national team because of his qualities," Robben said.

The Netherlands international, who has been at Bayern since 2009 after joining from Real Madrid, also voiced his delight for former club president Uli Hoeness, who left prison after 21 months in late February.

"FC Bayern nearly is Uli Hoeness. The day of his release was a special moment, because Uli is a family man," Robben said.

Asked whether the 64-year-old could return to a senior role at the club, he replied: "I don't know if he needs an official function at FC Bayern, he has this personality and does everything for the club anyway."

February not only saw the end of Hoeness' imprisonment, but also the return of Robben's counterpart Franck Ribery, who had struggled with injuries for most of 2015.

Guardiola has allowed the former France international time to find his feet again, and has mainly used him as an impact substitute, and Robben said that he believes they will continue their partnership in the years to come.

He said: "I am convinced that Franck and I have a few good years left in us. I am very pleased that he's back."

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