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Bayern Bulletin: Kovac Upset Over Mandzukic Distraction

Robben kiboshes Manchester United move, Lahm and Neuer return to training, Van Buyten will retire from the Belgian National Team after the World Cup, and the Brand Finance Institute deems Bayern the most valuable football brand.

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Alex Grimm
Kovac Attempts to Rid Mandzukic Transfer Distraction

Niko Kovac, the Croatian National Team coach and former Bayern München player, has forbid a visit between Mario Mandžukić and his agents, according to Die Welt.

"There will be no agents in the hotel with me," said Kovac. "They should manage that over the phone. I said that from the outset."

Mandžukić joined his Croatian teammates early after Guardiola left him off the team sheet in the DFB Pokal Final. It was a decision that rubbed Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge the wrong way.

Several teams, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus, and Real Madrid, are reportedly after the 27-year-old striker. Kovac is confident that his forward, who is suspended for the first match of the World Cup against Brazil, will find a landing spot rather quickly.

"It is nice that we have such world class players in our small country," said Kovac. "He can play anywhere in Europe. I have no concerns for Mario."

Robben the Latest to Make Manchester United a Non-Story

Arjen Robben snuffed out rumors that he would reunite with his former club and current national team coach, Louis van Gaal.

"That's not an option. I'm staying with Bayern München. Period."

"I cannot imagine why Bayern would want to lose me. I just renewed my contract and we are happy with each other.

"It's very different when you're not completely happy. I had a fantastic time with Van Gaal at FC Bayern and know what I have with him.

"Van Gaal and Guardiola are the best trainers I have worked with. I feel good so I will stay where I am. The chance is zero that I make the switch."

De Telegraaf via ESPN FC

Robben was reportedly on van Gaal's shortlist of transfer targets when he was appointed manager. Van Gaal brought Robben from Real Madrid around the time of his appointment at Bayern.

Lahm and Neuer Join German Teammates

After suffering injuries in the DFB-Pokal Final, Philipp Lahm (ankle) and Manuel Neuer (shoulder) have rejoined their German national team comrades.

"I'm glad that in addition to Per Mertesacker, now Philipp and Manu have joined the team," Germany head coach Joachim Löw said []. "Even if they could not initially train with us, their presence is important. The squad is almost complete, now we are only missing Sami Khedira, who will join us after the Champions League final."

The two, along with Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), trained individually on Saturday. Germany plays Cameroon and Armenia before departing for Brazil.

Van Buyten to Retire from Belgium Following the World Cup

Daniel van Buyten announced over the weekend that the World Cup in Brazil will be his last action as part of the Belgian national team.

"I will soon be 37. I know that the hour of retirement is coming closer," he told kicker.

Van Buyten made his first appearances in the dawn of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea. He has since amassed 77 caps with the Rode Duivels, and he will participate in his second World Cup after Belgium failed to qualify in 2006 in Germany and 2010 in South Africa.

"I started with a World Cup and I will end with a World Cup, at which I will once again give the maximum," van Buyten said.

With several young defenders in the Belgian side, van Buyten also said that he wanted to "make room for the youth." The vast depth at center back has caused Belgium coach Marc Wilmots to use some at fullback.

Van Buyten is out of contract at Bayern, and perhaps his retirement from the national team will be a prelude for hanging up the boots for good.

Brand Finance Institute: Bayern the Most Valuable Football Brand

In their annual rankings of football brands, the Brand Finance Institute has labeled Bayern as the most valuable football brand for the second straight year.

Forbes has ranked Bayern fourth in football club valuations, approximating a €1.423 billion team value. With an office opening in New York City at the beginning of April, the Bayern brand should stay solid for more years to come.

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