Dietmar Hamann feels Bayern Munich are nearing the end of an era as several key players approach the twilight of their careers.
Although they top the table by seven points from RB Leipzig, the reigning Bundesliga champions have been less dominant this term than in previous seasons.
And Hamann believes an ageing squad is the main reason behind some slightly underwhelming form.
"The Bayern squad just keeps getting older," Hamann told AZ ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Arsenal.
"We should not forget that the core of this team has been playing at the highest level for about 10 years. It is only logical things are no longer what they used to be. And young players such as Renato Sanches and Kingsley Coman have failed to impress this season.
"They might still get away with it in the Bundesliga, but it will get difficult against Europe's finest.
"I think [Philipp] Lahm's retirement at the end of the season is the start of the end of an era. I can see Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben retiring in 2018 as well.
"But what this generation has done is simply sensational. You can hardly put their consistency into words."