The backlash against some of the national team members, including Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan, grew more pronounced after defending champions Germany lost to Mexico, 1-0, on Sunday at a group stage of a tournament held in Russia this year.
READ MORE: First-Ever Balalaika Day to Take Place in Sochi During 2018 FIFA World Cup
The debates over Ozil's and Gundogan's motivation began in mid-May when the two players posed for pictures with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gundogan reportedly gave the Turkish leader a club shirt signed "to my president."
"Footballers from our national team, Turks by origin, not so long ago held a photo shoot with Erdogan. Besides, these footballers are refusing to publicly sing the national anthem of Germany with the rest of the team. If you think that Erdogan is your president, then maybe you should play for Turkey?" Albert Breininge told Sputnik.
Breininge noted that the team makeup was not a matter serious enough for the AfD to have an official position on it.
"There is a political component to it, and some people from the leadership of the party, as well as many fans, have expressed their opinion. I support and share it," Breininge said.
Legendary former German player Lothar Matthaus said in his column for the German Bild newspaper, after the country's loss, that Ozil was playing without joy and did not even seem like he wanted to be there. Matthaus stressed that he had nothing against Ozil's origins and was worried only about his style of play.
READ MORE: Japan Beats Colombia 2-1 in Teams' 1st Match at 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
Eugen Schmidt, another AfD member, criticized the two players for their "deliberately contemptuous attitude to the country they are playing for."
"After Germany lost to Mexico in the very first game, the problems in the team became obvious and calls grew from the AfD for the replacement of the Turks in the team with more motivated players, because they do not feel comfortable in the team and are unable to do their best while playing for a country that is foreign to them," Schmidt told Sputnik.
The recent criticism aimed at the players came amid frayed relations between Berlin and Ankara. Turkish officials' last year's campaign for the constitutional referendum aimed at Turks residing in Germany was met with resistance by the local authorities. Meanwhile, the photo shoot with Turkish-German football players took place among Erdogan's re-election campaign. The general election in Turkey is scheduled for June 24.