Thomas Muller has hit out at critics for suggesting Xabi Alonso and Bastian Schweinsteiger cannot play together in the Bayern Munich midfield.
Alonso, 33, joined Bayern from Real Madrid during the final days of the summer transfer window in 2014 but, after a bright start, he has failed to produce his best form since the winter break.
There have been suggestions in Germany that his recent struggles may be down to Schweinsteiger's return to the team after suffering with injury during the first half of the season.
As a result of that, the pair had started together just once in 2014, when Bayern eased past Augsburg 4-0 but, in the four games they have both started this year, the signs have been distinctly less promising, with the only victory coming against rock-bottom Stuttgart.
Bayern's only other games since the winter break brought on an 8-0 win over Hamburg, when Alonso did not feature, and the 6-0 win at Paderborn at the weekend, when Schweinsteiger remained on the bench and the Spaniard received strong praise for his performance.
Die Welt has suggested that starting both players slows down the Bayern midfielder, while the German football magazine kicker argued that one of them has to be played out of position when they start.
In a longer tactics blog piece on the renaissance of the libero role last weekend, German sportswriter Constantin Eckner referred to Alonso's style of constantly dropping behind the centre-backs, writing on his website: "You do something but sometimes don't really know why you do it, and thereby become an obtrusive as a kind of ball-magnet."
However, Bayern star Muller told Sport1 that the debate is misguided.
"This discussion is led by people who either don't want to open their eyes or who don't know enough about football to really see the differences," Muller said.
"They just see the two big names and say, 'Oh, with those two in the lineup together the results haven't been that brilliant,' but those folks can't even explain why they don't function, what they take away from each other on the pitch. It's too superficial."
Meanwhile, Bayern captain Philipp Lahm insists Bayern will not lose focus this time around as they seek to win both the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Bayern won the German title in record time last season but failed to defend their European crown, losing 5-0 on aggregate to Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals.
"That was not the FC Bayern we know," Lahm told Sport Bild. "We have to take the blame for that. But one thing is clear -- everybody at the club has learnt from last year and has seen what can happen. When only a few percent points are missing in the league games, it gets difficult to be fully focused in a knockout match."