Berlin - Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff suggested on Wednesday that Mats Hummels could still play for the country, even though coach Joachim Loew said he would not pick the defender again.
Loew went to Munich in March to tell three Bayern players, defenders Hummels and Jerome Boateng and striker Thomas Mueller that he did not intend to pick them as he prepared for Euro 2020 qualifying because he wanted to bring on a new generation.
Bierhoff said Loew had been misunderstood.
"The communication created the impression that he would never play for the national team again," Bierhoff told German television. "I've always said we haven't said goodbye to a player yet."
Hummels, who is 30 and has won 70 German caps and a World Cup winner's medal, took the initial comments by Loew badly.
In the summer he returned to Borussia Dortmund and has shown impressive form this season.
The chorus of demands for his recall has increased since Niklas Suele, who has taken Hummels' role at Bayern and with Germany, suffered a knee injury that rules him out for the season.
"At the time, I thought it was very clear," said Bierhoff of Loew.
"He was saying,'We no longer rely on you, we have other projects and we don't want to discuss this for months.' But in football, I would never rule anything out."