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Before the World Cup: Previewing Bayern's National Team Friendlies

With 16 days until the World Cup, national teams play their final friendlies before the World Cup


With a Domestic Double in the books, the class of Bayern Munich will be suiting up with their country's colors in preparation for the World Cup. Die Roten could potentially have 19 players taking the pitch over the next two weeks, several competing with an important role with their national teams.

Here's a preview of the friendly action before teams pack their boots for the biggest tournament in sports:

World Cup Sides

Belgium Belgium

Matches: May 26 vs. Luxembourg (5-1 W), June 1 @ Sweden, June 7 vs. Tunisia

Daniel van Buyten already has a friendly under his belt, one of Marc Wilmots's second half replacements in defense. The two remaining friendlies would be the last two chances for van Buyten to seal one of the center back spots. With Wilmots already playing central defenders as fullbacks, van Buyten may be able to push Toby Anderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, and Jan Vertonghen to the flanks.

Brazil Brazil

Matches: June 3 vs. Panama, June 6 vs. Serbia

Even with his club accomplishments, Dante has not found a way to supplant David Luiz's spot next to Thiago Silva. Two friendlies against Panama and Serbia is unlikely to change the pecking, but good performances from the 30-year-old defender could increase his playing time. With unpredictable injuries and strict yellow card accumulation rules, Luis Felipe Scolari will need an inform Dante to assure his Seleçao to the finish line.

Croatia Croatia

Matches: May 31 vs. Mali, June 6 vs. Australia

As good as Mario Mandžukić has been with Bayern over the past two seasons, the absent service with the national team caps his potential for tangible results. He remains Croatia best aerial threat, but former Bayern striker Ivica Olic might nudge him out of the way with his penetrating style. Given the way he left Munich at the end of Bayern's double run, Mandžukić's body language will also be notable to watch.

France France

Matches: May 27 vs. Norway, June 1 vs. Paraguay, June 8 vs. Jamaica

Considering the injury issues and alleged motivational troubles he had during the Rückrunde, Franck Ribéry's presence in these friendlies will be important. He has not been as imposing on the left flank, his level of play a touch below the eliteness he has shown in the past. Didier Deschamps will need his reigning European Player of the Year in better form and full fitness to avoid another embarrassing collapse in the World Cup.

Germany Germany

Matches: June 1 vs. Cameroon, June 6 vs. Armenia

With all the misconceptions Guardiola has shattered in his first year in charge of Bayern, the way Joachim Löw adapts his team to new roles will be interesting to watch. Löw has already fielded Philipp Lahm in midfield and Mario Götze as a center forward, but perhaps these experiments could become solutions. It is still to early to determine the restrictions of Lahm, Manuel Neuer, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, although how Löw reintegrates them into the side will be interesting to watch.

Netherlands Netherlands

Matches: May 31 vs. Ghana, June 4 vs. Wales

Arjen Robben, an integral to the rise of the Oranje during their World Cup run in 2010, is one of the best weapons for the Netherlands. The question remains where van Gaal will utilize his skill set, and whether Robben will contribute more than just the offensive side of the game. Van Gaal has adapted some of his tactics to keep Robben in an attacking position, and the two friendlies could give the former Bayern manager the opportunity to experiment with that set up again.

Spain Spain

Matches: May 30 vs. Bolivia, June 7 @ El Salvador

Going into his second World Cup, Javi Martínez has the opportunity to increase his role as part of a potent defending championship side. Behind Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué, the third center back spot is still up for grabs. If Martínez is able to hold his own as he did against Italy in March, then he will have a chance to become more than just a team sheet filler.

Switzerland Switzerland

Matches: May 30 vs. Jamaica, June 3 vs. Peru

At this person, the only person who can predict how Xherdan Shaqiri will perform after recovering from his thigh injury is probably himself. He is imperative to the Swiss attack, driving whatever momentum they will have on the right flank. The two friendlies will exhibit his fitness level, and whether Ottmar Hitzfeld can rely on the 22-year-old to drive Switzerland deep into the tournament.

United States United States

Matches: June 27 vs. Azerbaijan, June 1 vs. Turkey, June 7 vs. Nigeria

Perhaps the most controversial call-ups of the lot, Julian green has three opportunities to prove that he deserves to be part of the stars and stripes. Left wing is a position that does not have a consistent presence at it, although Jürgen Klinsmann has played without a strong flank presence before. The way he links with his American teammates will be worth monitoring, for even the Bundesliga players do not have experience playing with the young prodigy.

Non-World Cup Sides

Denmark Denmark

Matches: May 22 vs. Hungary (2-2 D), May 28 vs. Sweden

While not in the World Cup, Denmark will be worth a peak to see if Pierre-Emile Højbjerg makes his first cap with the senior team. The midfielder did not see the field in a 2-2 draw against Hungary, with Jakub Paulson and William Kvist starting in holding midfield. Højbjerg is on a steep career trajectory that could provide Bayern with another young, world-class midfielder, and playing with a different set of players will go a long way for his development.

Peru Peru

Matches: May 30 @ England, June 3 @ Switzerland

Fresh off of a contract extension, Claudio Pizarro will return to the pitch suiting up for Peru. Even though he has advanced in age, he remains a focal point in the Peruvian attack, but those days might be numbered. Irven Ávila, André Carrillo, and Raúl Ruidíaz are all knocking on the door, so Pablo Bengoechea might turn to his youth without a World Cup to prepare for.

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