Created on 03-02-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern have successfully contested the first two competitive fixtures after the winter break, only for half the squad to disappear from Munich for a variety of destinations around the globe. Wednesday sees the first round of internationals of the new year, all of them friendly matches, with 13 of the 24-strong Bayern squad called up to represent their countries.
The largest single contingent will feature for Germany away to Austria. Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski have been nominated by coach Joachim Löw for the warm-up against the Euro 2008 joint hosts in Vienna. The Germans will be without a number of regulars through injury, but Löw is confident of giving Podolski a run-out. The Reds striker has been sidelined recently with a slipped disc, but is now "fit and capable of playing,“ Löw announced.
Comeback for Sagnol
The same applies to Franck Ribéry. The midfielder was substituted at half-time in Rostock last Friday complaining of a stretched hamstring, but the measure was only precautionary and the player should be fit to appear for France against Spain in Malaga. Moreover, Willy Sagnol returns to squad duty for his country for the first time in more than ten months. The right-back last pulled on a France jersey on 24 March 2007, before sustaining serious cartilage damage while appearing for Bayern a short time afterwards.
Munich top scorer Luca Toni makes the short trip to Zurich, where Italy meet Portugal. The air temperature is bound to be more agreeable for Hamit Altintop in Istanbul, where he represents Turkey against Sweden. Dublin is the somewhat chillier destination for Lucio and Breno, with the centre-back duo set to line up for Brazil against Ireland.
National team against club
Perhaps the most unusual fixture of the week involves Daniel van Buyten. The Bayern defender represents the Belgian national team away to top flight club side Standard Liege. Finally, the longest trip of the lot will be undertaken by Argentina stars Martin Demichelis and José Sosa, as the venue for their meeting with Guatemala is Los Angeles. Martin and Jose will not arrive back in Munich until Friday this week, but the rest of the internationals should return in time for Thursday training at the Säbener Strasse.