Mario Gotze absence 'right call' - Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola
Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola defended Mario Gotze's continued absence from the first team after Saturday's 1-0 win over Cologne, saying the victory proved it was "the best solution."
Gotze remained on the bench throughout the game at the RheinEnergieStadion and has played just 54 minutes since recovering from a groin injury in mid-February.
Despite freshening up his side after needing extra time to see off Juventus in the Champions League in midweek, Guardiola again overlooked the Germany international and offered no apologies when asked about the decision.
"It was my decision and it was the best solution for Bayern Munich," Guardiola told reporters when asked about Gotze. "If we win, I've made the right call."
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added in kicker: "We've got a lot of top players in our attacking department. Not everyone can play."
Gotze, under contract until 2017, has been linked with a summer exit, and his continued absence from the side led to a headline in Bild reading: "Humiliated by Pep, forgotten by the bosses."
The 23-year-old, who was signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2013 despite Guardiola asking the club to buy Neymar, has said he will make a decision on his future after Carlo Ancelotti takes charge at the end of the season.
Gotze, who is rumoured to be a target for Liverpool, will now hope to return to action during the international break as Germany take on England and Italy ahead of Euro 2016.
Thomas Muller, who was rested for the Cologne match, is backing his international teammate to impress for the world champions.
"I won't get worked up over it now," he said when asked about Gotze's lack of game time at Bayern. "He can find his form at the national team now."
Serdar Tasci, meanwhile, is also struggling to secure first-team football under Guardiola.
The centre-back, signed on loan from Spartak Moscow amid an injury crisis in the January window, has made just one appearance for Bayern so far.
He replaced Medhi Benatia in the squad for the Cologne game but, like Gotze, did not make it onto the pitch.
"Serdar obviously needs a bit more time to learn our idea of football, to understand many things we've talked about in the last three years," Guardiola said. "He will get his playing time. He just needs a bit of patience with the situation. I like him."