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James Rodriguez prioritizes Bayern Munich, returns early from international duty

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Celtic FC v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

After featuring in Colombia's 2-1 friendly defeat to South Korea in Seoul, James Rodriguez decided to return to Germany to resume training with Bayern Munich instead of taking part in Colombia's subsequent friendly against China in Chongqing. Because of the considerable amount of traveling for the pair of friendlies, James had to leave Germany right after Bayern's 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker. His decision to return to Munich early gives him a few extra days of rest and preparation ahead of the visit of Augsburg to the Allianz Arena.

Colombia's manager, Jose Pekerman, expressed his sympathy for his player, recognizing that he's eager to stay high in the pecking order at Bayern (via ESPN):

We all know how much James likes to wear the national team jersey, but he is also enjoying wearing the Bayern shirt and I don't want to prevent him from doing so. He came here personally and said he wanted to return to his club. I've known James for the past five years, but it's the first time he's asked me for something like this.

Jupp Heynckes had voiced his frustration of Colombia's schedule for the international break and even went as far as saying that it was "verging on insanity" and that it was "incomprehensible." Had James not chosen to return to the Säbener Straße early, he likely would've only had a day or two before the Augsburg encounter, putting him at an increased risk of injury, which he's dealt with earlier on in the season with a thigh injury as well as a back problem more recently that kept him out of the thrilling DFB-Pokal clash against RB Leipzig.

Since the injuries to the likes of both Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller, James' Bayern career has gone through somewhat of a renaissance under Jupp Heynckes as he's been given substantial minutes. He seems to have shaken off what was a rather poor start to the season and has scored once and provided two assists from a total of 5 appearances under Heynckes — four of which were starts.

At this point, as long as James is able to stay fully fit, all signs seem to be pointing in the right direction as far as his form with Bayern Munich in concerned. Heynckes seems to have figured out how to bring out the best in him and James has spoken about how he's positively responded the Heynckes' style of coaching.

Hear from the Colombian himself: