Munich - Off the Ball,'s weekday feature, casts an eye over some of the offbeat and occasionally controversial tales to have emerged from Germany's top flight sides.

Today, we obtain an insight into Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's extra-curricular activities, get the views of a Bundesliga legend on Bayern's Mandzukic-Lewandowski combo and bring you the latest development in the 'Kießling for Germany' saga.

After six months at Borussia Dortmund, Gabonese forward is stepping up his efforts to learn German. Mastering the notoriously difficult Deutsch should not pose too much trouble for the attacker as he already speaks three languages: his mother tongue French, which he uses with team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Spanish with Nuri Sahin and Mats Hummels, and near-perfect Italian from his time with AC Milan. “The most important thing for me when I arrived here was to find a place to live for my family. Now I have time for a German course,” the former AS Saint-Etienne star told Sky with a grin. Sehr gut Pierre!

Croatia coach Niko Kovac believes striker FC Bayern München striker has nothing to fear when Robert Lewandowski arrives in the summer from Borussia Dortmund. Mandzukic scored 15 times in the league last season and has ten goals already this term, but Pep Guardiola’s favoured formation accommodates just one out-and-out striker. Nevertheless, Kovac, a former Bayern player himself, is confident Mandzukic can continue to assert himself in Munich. “I don’t think it will be a problem for Mario. He’ll fight for his place in the team and he won’t give up. Even a Robert Lewandowski has to first show that, for Bayern, he is better than Mario.”

’s continued absence from the Germany team has long puzzled many a seasoned observer, but the forward would be well advised not to give up hope just yet. The Bayer Leverkusen striker was top-scorer with 25 goals in 2012/13 and already has nine this term, but national team coach Joachim Löw has repeatedly declined to recall the 29-year-old. He appeared to change tack on Friday, however, when speaking to Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin. Responding to a fan question Löw said: "I've told Stefan that Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez are our striking options. But if someone is injured or out of form, I'm prepared to change my plans entirely." And which fan asked that question? None other than German four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel!

Compiled by Bernie Reeves