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Bayern High Five: March International Friendlies

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Rafinha and Javier Martínez move up their countries' pecking boards, Alaba shuts down the Uruguay midfield, and Götze provides the lone highlight for Germany

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The showing from the FIFA international friendlies were not as glamorous this time around for the FC Bayern München players involved. Instead of spectacular goals and eye-popping assists, the players presented more of a disciplined, conservative approach, reserving their efforts for the continued siege back to European's best. Here are the top performances from the midweek friendlies.

Bayern High Five

1. David Alaba – Austria vs. Uruguay

Alaba single-highhandedly exposed a huge weakness for Uruguay, a seeded country in the World Cup draw just two months ago. He commanded the midfield, playing box-to-box for much of the match and providing Kroos-esque service in the center of the park. His shot attempts reiterated his artistry and ingenuity, requiring acrobatics from Fernando Muslera to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line. Alaba recapitulated his midfield résumé, an occupation he probably would have with a majority of European teams.

2. Mario Götze – Germany vs. Chile

Of all the 14 players who suited up for their national sides, only one found the back of the net: Mario Götze. His movement of the ball was sensational, frequently in a dangerous position to score. Starting him on the left flank, Joachim Löw moved him centrally as a forward, allowing him to assist in the play as well. He was the lone bright spot during a very dark performance from the Nationalelf, overwhelmed with the energy radiating from its Chilean opponents.

3. Javier Martínez – Spain vs. Italy

The newest addition to the Bayern defense held his own in next to Sergio Ramos for La Roja. The Azzurri attempted to bully Martínez, testing his physicality and assessing his center back credentials. He filtered play out of the back in the manor Spain has done for years, maneuvering around Italy's high press to push play forward. Martínez resolved some of the defensive inquiries floating around his head, allowing the prospect for a permanent reassignment to the back to have a positive undertone.

4. Rafinha – South Africa vs. Brazil

Everything that Rafinha did below the equator this week only helped his case for a triumphant return to Brazil. His strategical challenges kept the ball at the feet of the high-octane Brazilian midfield, and his marking was a good clinical level. The role that he played for the Seleçao was much more reserved than the tape of him bombing down the right flank for Bayern, thus he was not involved much as an offensive facilitator. The most substantial event in Rafinha favor was Luis Felipe Scolari taking off Marcelo for Dani Alves, what could be a vote of confidence or just an extended tryout.

5. Philipp Lahm – Germany vs. Chile

He was not as involved in midfield play as has been with Bayern, but his positioning aided a back line that struggled with the world-class Chilean attack. Germany appeared more in control when he dropped closer between Per Mertesacker and Jérôme Boateng, not to mention he had a goal-line clearance off of a corner. Borussia Dortmund's Kevin Großkreutz got a long trial at right back, putting Löw in position to place his captain in a spot where he could make the most impact.

The Rest

In a disorganized German performance, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger exchanged playmaking and holding roles, with both occasionally assisting on the flanks with a lack on the pitch. Schweinsteiger undertook the biggest role, providing the "hockey assist" to Götze's goal as well as a few attack-halting tackles, but he also had a critical error that almost lead to an equalizer. Kroos had a more quiet performance, occasionally directing the play and providing one critical lob to Andrea Schürrle.

At the back, Jérôme Boateng performed his central responsibilities rather well, recovering for others well and intercepting many menacing balls into his wheelhouse. Where he struggled was when he was pulled outside, having to close down the supply, which put a lot of pressure on Manuel Neuer. The Bayern and German No. 1 displayed his usual acrobatics, and the goal frame behind him were a second pair of goalkeeper gloves to compensate for his human limitations.

The two other center backs in action got brief stretches in their respective friendlies. Dante relieved an ailing David Luiz, asking to be replaced after wincing, and caused a handful of offside traps against South Africa. Daniel van Buyten started next to Vincent Kompany for Belgium, a bit overwhelmed at times from the pacy Gervinho up top for Ivory Coast.

As far as the injured, both Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri saw a half or less of action. Ribéry displayed an encouraging work rate in the half half our he played, although les Bleus did not call upon his attacking services with a two goal lead, so there was not much flare in his shift. Shaqiri, playing on the left flank, looked a tick less than the explosive irritant he usually is, not required to track back and not linking up the play from his position.

Mario Mandžukić and Shaqiri were not simultaneously on the pitch, Shaqiri assigned to the first period and Mandzukic assigned to the second. Mandžukić's best chances came through the air, the service below that he experiences in Munich. Croatia benefited more from the direct skill set of Ivica Olić rather than the one-touch finishing Mandžukić provides. Not the best with the ball at his feet, Mandžukić might not be the best option when Niko Kovač selects his team come the summer.

Thiago Alcantara played a full shift as Vicente del Bosque continues to lose sleep of who to include as part of his midfield. He dribbled himself into an Italian mousetrap many times, but his positioning off the ball was in good support of his attack.