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World Cup group draw

Three FCB head-to-heads, tricky for Germans

Friday’s draw for the group stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil threw up a mixed bag for Bayern’s international stars, with three of the sections featuring face-offs between Munich team-mates, and joint favourites Germany being handed a far from easy task. The spectacular draw ceremony attended by 4,800 invited guests and held in a specially erected facility in the resort of Costa do Sauípe featured a host of big-name personalities including former world-class players Lothar Matthäus (Germany), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Zinédine Zidane (France) and Cafu (Brazil).

Three FCB head-to-heads

From a Bayern point of view, one of the most intriguing clashes will be the opening match in São Paulo on 12 June between Dante’s Brazil and Croatia with Mario Mandzukic, although the striker will be suspended for the first game at a minimum. The Bayern pair must also take on Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.

The very first match in Group B is also a showdown between two of the world’s finest teams, as Spain with Javi Martínez and Thiago meet Arjen Robben and the Netherlands. Chile and Australia provide the remaining opposition in what looks a very tough section. The third all-Bayern match-up takes place in Group E, where Franck Ribéry’s France meet neighbours Switzerland with Xherdan Shaqiri and former FCB head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. Ecuador and Honduras also face the French and Swiss. Over in Group H, Daniel van Buyten and the highly-fancied Belgians take on Algeria, Russia and South Korea as they go in search of a place in the last sixteen.

Reunion with Klinsi

The Germans with captain Philipp Lahm and a host of Bayern team-mates were drawn into an intriguing but tricky Group G with Portugal, Ghana and USA. Joachim Löw’s team open their campaign on 16 June in Salvador against World Player of the Year contender Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. The Germans then meet Ghana on 21 June in Fortaleza, before completing their group fixtures on 26 June in Recife against USA in a reunion with former Bayern and Germany boss Jürgen Klinsmann.

If Germany win their group, they would contest their Round of 16 tie on 30 June in Porto Alegre against a team from Belgium’s Group H. The final takes place on 13 July in Brazil’s ultimate footballing temple, the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.