By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Gomez raked in a total of 26 Bundesliga goals last season, during Bayern Munich's attempt to wrest the title from Borussia Dortmund.
Although the striker was forced to sit out the first half of the current campaign due to an ankle surgery, the Bavarians have managed just fine without him thanks to new striking duo Claudio Pizarro and Mario Mandzukic, who have scored 17 goals in the last 11 league games between them.
Matthaus told Alendzeitung that Gomez's striking exploits in the previous season now count for nothing, and that his compatriot must fight to displace Pizarro or Mandzukic from the starting 11.
"He must take a back seat because the injury has him thrown back and others have taken advantage, Gomez is not a new player who has nothing to prove. [Jupp] Heynckes has done well psychologically. But Gomez will not come back and play. He will have to wait to get one or two short appearances," Matthaus said.
"Last season he would have been straight back into the starting team but not this season. That is the strength Bayern now have."
Jupp Heynkes' side are on course to win their first league title in three years, capitalizing on a disappointing start to the current campaign by Dortmund to sit atop the table. The former European Footballer of the Year believed fresh blood like Pizarro, Mandzukic and Javi Martinez is one of the reasons for Bayern's good form.
"At Bayern there is a trend; everyone is replaceable and they must be good enough to play in the starting 11," Matthaus described.
"That is the secret of success. No one can rest, just like last year. Mario had a great three years at Bayern with a superb goal average - but the other strikers have that now too. There will be no free ride for Mario Gomez."
Despite the impending selection headache that Heynkes will face, Matthaus considers the team privileged to possess the strike-force they do.
"We know he [Gomez] scores goals, but he has to face competition. Last year the competition was Nils Pedersen. And now? All three have a nose for goal and are forwards on a similar level, but of different types," he said.
"Gomez the penalty area striker, Mandzukic rather a combination player who works hard for the team, and Pizarro's qualities you have all seen after so many years. If all three are fit, I would not say that one is stronger than the other. The coach may want to vary it to surprise the opposition."
Bayern Munich visit Nuremberg for their Bundesliga fixture this weekend.