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Thirteen call-ups

Half the squad away on international duty

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Coach Louis van Gaal’s opportunities to continue bedding in his new ideas and philosophy are seriously restricted this week, as no fewer than 13 members of the first-team squad are away from the Säbener Strasse in answer to international call-ups. All this week’s games are over by Wednesday evening, with the stars expected back in Munich during the course of Thursday.

Six Bayern players are representing Germany at senior and U-21 level. Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose go in search of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa qualifying points against Azerbaijan in Baku. The Germans must beat the side coached by Berti Vogts to avoid handing chief group rivals Russia a major advantage in the race to claim top spot.

Klose, who missed his club’s opening Bundesliga fixture away to Hoffenheim with a sprain, rates as doubtful for the qualifying fixture. However, he passed a fitness test at Germany’s pre-match training base and has travelled to the Caucasus with the squad.

Debut beckons for shooting stars

Elsewhere, Holger Badstuber and Thomas Müller are set for debuts in the Germany U-21 team. Coach Rainer Adrion has included the FCB pair in his squad for the Lobanowski Cup in the Ukraine. Germany meet Turkey in Tuesday’s first semi-final in Kyiv, with the hosts taking on Iran in the second match. The final and third-place play-off take place on Wednesday.