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Previewing Bayern Munich in the November Friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers

European qualification winds down just as World Cup qualifying cranks up a notch.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

From a European prospective, the international break will not be all that exciting for Bayern Munich players. Most of the players received a call-up to national teams who have either qualified for the UEFA European Championship in France or have been eliminated in qualification. Most of Bayern's players will only partake in friendlies, but the footballing world is bigger than European football.

2018 World Cup qualification is now in full swing, with CAF and CONCACAF shifting their qualification process into full gear. CONMEBOL has already started theirs, and the results from the first two rounds showed how much harder qualification may be for bigger countries like Argentina and Brazil. A few of Bayern's players will have to travel a long way back home in order to help their homeland secure important results in big fixtures.

Bayern will relinquish fourteen players so they can dress in their country's colors, a strong portion of their very deep squad. Here is a look at what those players are up to in the November international break.

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying

Brazil Brazil

Matches: Nov. 13 @ Argentina, Nov. 18 vs. Peru
Qualifying Record: 1 W, 0 D, 1 L – 3 pts.
Bayern Player: Douglas Costa

Brazil and Argentina have classic matches in their history, but Douglas Costa has yet to be part of any of them. Brazil head coach Dunga has included him this time around, and Douglas has a good chance to make an impact considering his form with Bayern. Neymar's return from suspension may complicate things a little bit, but without a true center forward, Dunga may be inclined to just play Douglas, Neymar, and Willian in attack. He looked a little out of sorts in Brazil's first two qualifying matches, but having the dynamism of Neymar to combine with will improve his play.

Chile Chile

Matches: Nov. 13 vs. Colombia, Nov. 18 @ Uruguay
Qualifying Record: 2 W, 0 D, 0 L – 6 pts.
Bayern Player: Arturo Vidal

Vidal is a player who would bleed for his country, and his fitness trouble at the club level will not stop that. His fitness may not be as big of a worry this time around, Bayern trying to ease him back to full fitness after his knee troubles. He is an integral part to Chile's midfield, and will even get on the end of a chance or two despite La Roja's wealth of attacking talent. Chile has two tougher fixtures this week, so coach Jorge Sampaoli will need every minute of Vidal he can get.

CAF World Cup Qualifying

Morocco Morocco

Matches: Nov. 12 vs. Equatorial Guinea, Nov. 15 @ Equatorial Guinea
Bayern Player: Medhi Benatia

This call-up is the most premature of Bayern call-ups, Benatia yet to start at the club level after a thigh issue kept him out for two months. His selection just shows how important he is to Morocco's defense, especially in a win-or-go-home tie with Africa Cup of Nations surprise Equatorial Guinea. Benatia is the captain of the Atlas Lions, so as long as he can take the field, he will be in Badou Ezzaki's starting XI.

European Friendlies


Match: Nov. 17 vs. Switzerland
Bayern Player: David Alaba

Austria cracked the top ten of the FIFA rankings for the first time in their history, and Alaba's command of the midfield was a strong factor in their rise. Fortunately coach Marcel Koller will not have to depend on Alaba for more than a strong shift, especially if he wants to trial secondary options such as Stefan Ilsanker or other RB Salzburg/Leipzig players. Koller has not hidden his affections for Alaba in midfield, and the two-time Austrian Sportsman of the Year will likely feature prominently again.

France France

Matches: Nov. 13 vs. Germany, Nov. 17 @ England
Bayern Player: Kingsley Coman

Coman's call-up to the France national team is the most exciting for any of the Bayern players. He will get the opportunity to make his debut after spending most of this season playing with the U21s in UEFA U21 European Championship qualifying. Wingers is not an area France are extraordinarily deep in, coach Didier Deschamps occasionally relying on striker Loïc Remy on the flank. Coman can make a real impression in one or both of France's friendlies, and that may be the ticket to playing for the host nation in Euro 2016.

Germany Germany

Matches: Nov. 13 @ France, Nov. 17 vs. Netherlands
Bayern Players: Jérôme Boateng, Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer

Bayern sent seven players to the 2014 FIFA World Cup a year and a half ago, which is why the three they are sending for these friendlies looks minuscule in comparison. All three are integral parts to coach Joachim Löw's team though, and all three will get a strong shift in France as they prepare for the Euros. Löw called in four goalkeepers to the side, so Neuer will get a little bit of rest as Germany tries to find his back-up.

Netherlands Netherlands

Matches: Nov. 13 @ Wales, Nov. 17 @ Germany
Bayern Player: Arjen Robben

Back to full fitness, the Dutch captain will try to revive a team looking for a jump after failing to qualify for the Euro 2016. He will only feature in the match against Wales, but it will nice to be able to combine with players he may not have a footballing relationship with yet. The Netherlands will have a lot of pressure in World Cup qualifying, so it is never too early for Robben to assimilate back into the Oranje.

Poland Poland

Matches: Nov. 13 vs. Iceland, Nov. 17 vs. Czech Republic
Bayern Player: Robert Lewandowski

The opponents Lewandowski will face in the international break may not have the name recognition as a Spain or a Germany, but these are two opponents that could get an exciting result or two at the Euros. Lewandowski thrived in space at the end of qualifying, but he may not have that luxury against Iceland or the Czech Republic. He making more of an effort to find different was to score with Bayern, an attribute that can only help him on the international level when he draws even more attention from opponents.

Spain Spain

Matches: Nov. 13 vs. England, Nov. 17 @ Belgium
Bayern Player: Thiago Alcântara

Though it may not seem like it, a second consecutive call-up for Thiago is a big deal, for it means he is an option at the top of Vicente del Bosque's mind. The only thing missing from his full integration into the team is consistent minutes, but Spain's midfield is extremely hard to break into with their plethora of options. Two friendlies against England and Belgium may be his chance, and his playmaking ability could pave the way to consistent caps in the near future.

UEFA U21 European Championship Qualifying

Austria U21

Matches: Nov. 13 vs. Finland U21, Nov. 17 @ Germany U21
Group 7 Record: 3 W, 0 D, 0 L – 9 pts. (2nd)
Bayern Player: Ivan Lucic (Bayern II)

Though he did not get called for Austria U21's last qualifier in October, Lucic is back in the squad as they try to continue their perfect qualifying record. He is now playing week-in, week-out with the Bayern reserves, which may be the reason he is getting a look despite not playing first team football. He is not likely to play,

Germany Germany U21

Matches: Nov. 13 vs. Azerbaijan U21, Nov. 17 vs. Austria U21
Group 7 Record: 3 W, 0 D, 0 L – 9 pts. (1st)
Bayern Player: Joshua Kimmich

Germany is cruising through U21 qualifying, though people should expect that with the talent they have coming through the youth ranks. One piece they seem to be missing is a playmaker, which is good for Kimmich's development. Germany U21 coach Horst Hrubesch played Kimmich in a higher role, and he slotted in quite well as a playmaker – he even got a goal out of it. With Leroy Sané in the senior team, Kimmich's presence in the final third may be more necessary to create through the middle. That said, having former Bayern midfielder/defender Mitchell Weiser back in the team will an interesting element for Kimmich to interact with.

UEFA European Championship Qualifying Playoff


Matches: Nov. 14 @ Sweden, Nov. 17 vs. Sweden
Bayern Player: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (on loan at Schalke 04)

None of Bayern's current European players have qualifying pressure this time around, but loanee Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Denmark certainly do. They will have to take on Sweden, a country Højbjerg lost to less than a year ago at the UEFA U21 European Championships in June. Fortunately for the 20-year-old, he will have the chance to command the midfield, for Sweden's options outside of Pontus Wernbloom are not very intimidating. Denmark took part in the last European Championships, and they are hoping they can qualify once again.

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