Bayern stars on international duty
After Saturday's Bundesliga home match against Union Berlin, FC Bayern's players are off to the first international break of the year. A total of 16 players have been called up for their respective national teams. fcbayern.com has an overview:
Germany: Neuer, Kimmich, Sané, Müller & Musiala
With a strong Bayern contingent, Germany are warming up for the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year. With Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sané, Thomas Müller and Jamal Musiala, no fewer than five Bayern players have been called up for the friendlies against Israel (26 March in Sinsheim) and the Netherlands (29 March in Amsterdam). Serge Gnabry was called up but has returned home with flu, as the German FA confirmed on Wednesday.
France: Pavard, Coman, Hernández
France national coach Didier Deschamps has included three players from the German champions in his squad for the friendlies at the end of the month. Benjamin Pavard, Kingsley Coman and Lucas Hernández will first join the reigning world champions and UEFA Nations League holders for their friendly on 25 March in Marseille against Côte d'Ivoire, before taking on South Africa in Lille on 29 March.
On 29 March, led by The Best FIFA Men's Player Robert Lewandowski, Poland will battle for their ticket to the World Cup in Qatar. That's when the Poles will meet the winner of the clash between Sweden and the Czech Republic in the final of the World Cup qualifying play-offs. With the exclusion of Russia from international competition, Czesław Michniewicz's team have been given a bye in their semi-final and will now instead play a friendly match in Scotland on 24 March as a dress rehearsal for the play-off final. Part of the proceeds of the match in Glasgow will go to UNICEF aid for Ukraine.
Austria: Marcel Sabitzer
Marcel Sabitzer hopes to take the next step towards Qatar 2022 with Austria. On 24 March, Franco Foda's players will take on Wales in Cardiff in the play-off semi-final. If they win, Austria were then in June due to play the winners of the other semi-final between Scotland and Ukraine (originally scheduled to be played on the same day). But the Scotland-Ukraine match was "postponed" (not cancelled?) because of the war in Ukraine. Instead, on 29 March, Austria will now play a friendly match in Vienna against the loser of the play-off semi-final between Sweden and the Czech Republic. Here too, 50 percent of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the people of Ukraine.
Cameroon: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Led by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Cameroon will compete for a place in Qatar 2022 when they play Algeria in the final qualification round. Under new national coach Rigobert Song, Cameroon will first play the North Africans in Yaoundé on 25 March, with the return four days later in Blida. The winner over the two legs will go to the World Cup.
Senegal: Bouna Sarr
Now the freshly-crowned African champions, led by Bayern star Bouna Sarr, face their final opponents Egypt again. Just two months after the Africa Cup of Nations final in Yaoundé, the two nations are competing for a ticket to Qatar. The first leg of the final qualifying round is scheduled for 25 March in Cairo. Senegal will be at home for the return five days later in Dakar.
Germany U21: Malik Tillman
Malik Tillman has been called up for the Germany U21s against Latvia on 25 March (Aachen) and in Israel on 29 March (Petach Tikva) in the European Championship qualifiers.
France U20: Tanguy Nianzou
Tanguy Nianzou is in the France U20 national team's line-up for the friendly double-header against Portugal in Clairefontaine en Yvelines on March 27 and 29.
Germany U17: Paul Wanner
Youngster Paul Wanner has been called up for the Germany U17 national team for the second round matches of the European Championships in Scotland. The German juniors first take on Georgia in Falkirk on 23 March and then face Scotland on 26 March, before meeting the Czech Republic in Hamilton on 29 March.
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