The international break continues, with Bayern not in action until this weekend. The Euro Qualifiers are down to the last match, and FC Bayern’s players have been busy at work trying to stamp their tickets to Poland/Ukraine. Actually, the German players had already qualified for the Euro Championships a couple games ago, so they came into this international break with not much on the line. But they still answered the bell on Friday, comprehensively beating Turkey to maintain their perfect qualifying record:
With Özil and Klose the main absences, this was a very Bayern-centric roster for Germany (even more so than usual). They all played well, although Badstuber is definitely not getting any faster. Gomez was particularly ruthless on the first goal.
Die Nationalelf are back in action tomorrow vs. Belgium, who kept their hopes alive with by thrashing Kazakhstan on Friday. Daniel van Buyten started and played the full 90 minutes, and Belgium had a 2-0 lead at the half and were never in danger.
So, tomorrow’s Germany/Belgium match is huge, with the Belgian’s needing to match Turkey’s result to advance. The Turks are playing at home to lowly Azerbaijan, so this means that Belgium almost certainly needs to beat Germany. Vincent Kompany says he isn’t giving up, but this will be a tough task - as Friday’s game showed, Germany plays hard even with nothing at stake, and the talent gap is severe (especially with Eden Hazard nursing an ankle injury). But, with Schweinsteiger not 100% either, Klose still on the shelf, and Özil’s return questionable, anything could happen. This one is on ESPN 2 if you’re here in the States - kick-off is tomorrow at 1 PM.
I guess everyone is rooting for Germany ... as you all know, I have a soft spot for van Buyten, so I wouldn't mind seeing the upset tomorrow.
- Ribery was nowhere to be seen for France’s 3-0 victory over Albania, after being diagnosed with “problems with both legs.” He looks likely to miss out on tomorrow’s big match vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina tomorrow. A win or draw puts France straight through to the finals.
- David Alaba started and played the full 90 in Austria’s win over Azerbaijan. The Austrians are already eliminated from Euro 2012 contention, but they bear watching for the future.
- Arjen Robben not only missed out on the Netherlands’ win over Moldova, but will now miss “at least ten days” (according to ESPN’s Soccernet). This seems optimistic, frankly, considering he had surgery last week. The club will probably bring him back slowly, so it might be November before we see him on the pitch for Bayern again.
- Gustavo played for Brazil in their 1-0 friendly victory over Costa Rica. Not much Goose action here (he was taken out soon after halftime), but it’s all I could find:
Good to see him get some work in for Brazil.