Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus has hit out at current skipper Michael Ballack but admits that the national team cannot cope without the Chelsea midfielder.
Matthaus believes Ballack was wrong to publicly criticise Joachim Low in an interview in which Ballack reportedly claimed the Germany coach showed a lack of respect and loyalty to his senior players.
"Ballack's public criticism cannot be ignored by the coach of the national team," said Matthaus, who won 150 caps and led Germany to their 1990 World Cup triumph.
"Such a thing does not belong in the public arena. I do not understand why the captain has done this.
"Every discussion between a senior player and the coach should happen behind locked doors.
"But Ballack does not seem to adhere to a code of conduct anymore. He runs everything past the media. The trust in him has been lost."
However, Matthaus acknowledges that Germany need Ballack in their side if they are to qualify and make an impact in the 2010 World Cup finals.
"Ballack at the moment is the only Germany player of world-class," he told website ZDF online.
"If we want to achieve something big we can't do it without him.
"Ballack makes the difference. But what he is doing at the moment harms his position and that of the team."