Ten FCB men on international duty

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The Säbener Strasse is unusually quiet these days as many FC Bayern pros are on national team duty. Besides friendlies the stars will contest qualifiers to collect crucial points on the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. fcbayern.com presents an overview of the fixtures.

Poldi's farewell, qualifier in Baku

Germany start off with a truly classic fixture when Joachim Löw's troops face England in a friendly in Dortmund on Wednesday at 20.45 CET. The match is more than a dress rehearsal as it will be the last international for former Bayern pro Lukas Podolski. Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller will be there to see off Poldi, whereas Manuel Neuer had to withdraw from the squad. Müller & Co. then travel to face Azerbaijan on Sunday at 18.00, aiming to continue their flawless World Cup qualifying run of four victories in four matches.

Spain aim to retain their lead

Javi Martínez and Thiago might take a crucial step on their way to Russia on Friday at 20.45. Table-toppers Spain on ten points face Israel, only one point behind them, in Gijon. The FCB duo round off the international break in a top clash with France on Tuesday 28 March at 21.00.

Crucial matches for Alaba and Sanches

David Alaba and his Austrian team-mates will be looking to stay in touch with the top of the table in their group when they travel to face Moldova on 24 March at 20.45. The Austrians are in fourth place on four points, six behind the top and four off second place which would mean participation in the play-offs. Alaba & Co. contest a friendly  against Finland on 28 March. On the same day Portugal with Renato Sanches face Sweden in a friendly at 20.45, but the crucial match for the Portuguese takes place on 25 March at 20.45, when they cross swords with Hungary. Portugal lie in third place, only two points ahead of the Hungarians.

Lewandowski and Robben to face direct rivals

The top scorer in European World Cup qualifying will be in action on 26 March, when Robert Lewandowski faces Montenegro, who lie three points behind table-toppers Poland in Group E. Arjen Robben and his Dutch compatriots are also three points behind France, the leaders of Group A. On 25 March at 20.45 it will be crucial for Oranje to take points against Bulgaria, who are only one point behind the Netherlands. Robben & Co then face Italy in a friendly on 28 March at 20.45.

Crunch time for Vidal

Arturo Vidal could take a decisive step in South American World Cup qualifying. Chile contest two qualifiers against Argentina on 24 March at 0.30 CET and at home against Venezuela on 29 March at midnight. A victory away to Argentina would mean an especially giant stride as Chile lie in fourth place, one point ahead of Argentina. Fourth place means a spot in the World Cup finals, whereas the side finishing fifth must contest a play-off.

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