Berlin - Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has slammed Germany head coach Joachim Loew for the timing of his decision to cut Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels from his plans.
Rummenigge is "irritated" that Loew dropped the bombshell on Tuesday - a week before Bayern's crunch Champions League home game against Liverpool and in the midst of the Bundesliga title race.
"We consider the timing and circumstances of the announcement, both to the players and public, as questionable", wrote Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in a joint statement with sport director Hasan Salihamidzic.
"The last international match of the German national team took place on 19 November 2018" - three and a half months ago.
Loew flew to Munich on Tuesday to tell Mueller, 29, Boateng and Hummels, both 30, who have 246 appearances for Germany between them, that their international careers are over.
Loew made the announcement with Germany to host Serbia on March 20 in a friendly, then play a Euro 2020 qualifier away to the Netherlands four days later and wants a "new start".
The 59-year-old Germany boss has been under pressure to make sweeping changes since his side crashed out of last year's World Cup.
Mueller, Boateng and Hummels were at the core of the side which won the 2014 World Cup, but the trio were off form during poor displays by the entire team in Russia last year.
The Bayern bosses are 'irritated' by Loew's timing, ahead of 'landmark' games at home to Liverpool in Europe next Wednesday and at home to Wolfsburg in the league this Saturday.
Bayern are neck-and-neck with leaders Borussia Dortmund on 54 points in the Bundesliga table with only a goal difference of two keeping the Bavarians off top-spot.
"We were surprised that this happened as part of an unannounced visit at (Bayern training complex) Saebener Strasse," said Rummenigge and Salihamidzic.
Former Bayern and Germany midfielders Lothar Matthaeus and Stefan Effenberg have also questioned Loew's timing.
"The decision is okay, because we are talking about making changes, but the moment is very unfortunate," said Matthaeus, a Sky pundit.
"A week before the game against Liverpool means Loew has only brought unrest to Bayern Munich.
"You could have thrown these three players out of the national team two months ago, after so many years of merit, and not a week before the important match in the Champions League."
Effenberg questioned the logic of discarding so much experience.
"In my view, it wasn't necessary to close the door to the national team for three well-deserving players," said 50-year-old.
"One thing is for sure, Loew will be measured by it in the future.
"If the change fails, he will have to bear the consequences."
Mesut Ozil, who has not spoken to Loew since walking away from the Germany set-up last year citing racism, said he felt sorry about Loew's treatment of close friend Boateng.
"I am sorry that one of the best German players in the last decades has to leave the national team in this way," wrote Ozil on Twitter.
Both Boateng and Hummels turned to youth to console themselves on Instagram.
Boateng posted "Thank you for brightening my day" when his god-daughter posted a video to him saying "cheer up, they're balla balla (crazy)".
Hummels posted a picture with his infant son Ludwig alongside the text "cheerful".