Germany striker Lukas Podolski faces another stint on Bayern Munich's bench after a further ticking off from manager Uli Hoeness and his departure from the German giants looks increasingly likely.
With Italy striker Luca Toni injured, Podolski played in the last two league games against Wolfsburg and Frankfurt, but poor performances means he can expect to be back on the bench against Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City have both expressed interest in signing Podolski and the player himself has hinted at a return to former club Cologne when the transfer window opens in January.
After Bayern's 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday, Munich manager Hoeness again criticised Podolski and the chances of seeing out his contract, which runs until June 2010, look slim.
“He had two chances and did not use them,” fumed Hoeness, who told the 23-year-old to “stop whining” earlier this season when Podolski complained about being left on the bench for a second consecutive season.
Bayern's bosses are frustrated Podolski seems to have no problems scoring for Germany – he has netted 31 times for die Mannschaft in 59 games – yet has hit only 11 goals in 57 appearances since joining Bayern in 2006.
“He plays at 80 per cent against teams such as Liechtenstein or San Marino,” said Hoeness. “The problem is he scores two goals against Liechtenstein and is jubilant.”
Podolski scored the first goal in the 2-1 win over Russia earlier this month in a World Cup qualifier, but while he goes from strength to strength with Germany his position at Bayern grows precariously weak.
“It would be easier for him to bring forward arguments to support his case with a couple of good performances,” said Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann. And his Bayern team-mate Miroslav Klose also criticised him.
“If he needs someone to cuddle and support him, perhaps he should buy a cat,” said the striker in a thinly-veiled assertion patience is running out.
And Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently questioned Podolski's motivation.
“I do not understand what he wants. I require of him that he does everything he can for Bayern Munich and shows commitment to the cause,” he said.