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News in brief

International stars return to Munich

After featuring for their national teams on Tuesday evening, Bayern’s international stars began returning to the Säbener Strasse training facility in the course of Wednesday. A clutch of players, including David Alaba and Claudio Pizarro, were not due back in Munich until the evening. In an open training session on Wednesday afternoon, three days in advance of the home Bundesliga encounter with Mainz, Pep Guardiola took charge of a group including all the Germany internationals, although they were required to do nothing more than regenerative exercise. Javi Martínez completed a couple of laps of the facility with his team-mates before returning to his individual sports rehab programme.

Germany ever-present Neuer

Germany booked their place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with an undefeated record of nine victories and a draw. National coach Joachim Löw used a total of 24 players in the ten qualifying fixtures, with Bayern number one Manuel Neuer finishing as the only ever-present on the full 900 minutes of playing time. Mesut Özil and FCB’s Thomas Müller featured at some point in every match.

Niko Kovac named Mandzukic’ national coach

For the World Cup qualifying play-offs, Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic will be reporting to a new Croatia national coach, no less a figure than former Bayern midfielder Niko Kovac. The board of the Croatian Football Association followed the recommendation of its president Davor Suker on Wednesday, accpeting Igor Stimac’ offer to resign and naming 42-year-old U-21 coach Kovac as his successor. In the World Cup play-offs on 15 and 19 November, to be drawn in Zurich next Monday, Croatia will play one of Sweden, France, Iceland or Romania.