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World Cup qualifying

Eleven FCB men on international duty

When Jürgen Klinsmann collects his squad for the first team training session of the week on Tuesday morning, the dressing room at the Säbener Strasse performance centre will once again be less crowded than normal, as the next ten days features a raft of qualifying fixtures for the 2010 World Cup. A total of ten Bayern stars are involved in the search for points on the road to South Africa.

The largest single contingent will represent Germany. Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski are aiming to help the three-time world champions to victory over Russia on 11 October in Dortmund and Wales on 15 October in Monchengladbach. With two games played, Joachim Löw’s men lead their group on four points, one ahead of their next two opponents.

Ribéry set for comeback

Franck Ribéry is set for a first France appearance since sustaining a serious ankle injury at Euro 2008. The French travel to Constante to face Romania on 11 October. Following a shock opening day defeat to Austria and a routine home win against Serbia, Ribéry and Co will be determined to add another three points to their tally. Les Bleues then face Tunisia in a friendly at the Stade de France in Paris three days later.

Like the Germans, Luca Toni and Italy play two competitive fixtures. The Bayern hitman and his national team-mates travel to Sofia for a meeting with Bulgaria on 11 October, before a home encounter with Montenegro in Lecce four days later. The Squadra Azzurra lead Group 8 with maximum points from two matches.

Home advantage for Van Buyten

Six qualifying points are also at stake for Mark van Bommel and the Dutch national team, who entertain Iceland in Rotterdam on Saturday, before travelling to Oslo for a tricky encounter with Norway on 15 October.