Bayern Munich will not be playing for the next two weeks, but it is not a vacation for several of the players. They will be participating in key UEFA Euro qualifiers, ones which will bring their country's qualifying campaigns to the halfway point.
Ten senior players received the call to don their country's colors, a few for the first time in a while. As one would expect from such a prolific club, a majority of Bayern players are paramount to their countries, but some could make important progress to their national team future. Here is a look at the international break ahead for Bayern players:
Bayern in Qualifiers
Many Bayern fans saw Alaba as a box-to-box midfielder for the first time this year. However, he is the box-to-box presence for Austria, already earning multiple accolades for the country's best player. Players he sparred with the past few weeks – Zlatko Junuzović and Martin Stranzl – are now his battery mates. Alaba will be the free kick, set piece, and penalty taker as the Austrians look to remain unbeaten during their trip to tiny Liechtenstein.
Matches: 3/25 vs. Australia (Friendly), 3/29 @ Georgia (Euro Qualifier)
Group D Record: 2 W, 1 D, 1 L – 7 pts. (2nd)
Bayern Players: Holger Badstuber, Jérôme Boateng, Mario Götze, Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger
He had a tough weekend, but Holger Badstuber can hold his head high. Why? He will have the opportunity to make his first international appearance in two and a half years. The 26-year-old will have to usurp the center back position from Mats Hummels, but head coach Joachim Löw is so thin at fullback he might manufacture a spot for Badstuber after all.
Also returning after a long layoff is Bastian Schweinsteiger, who will undertake his role as Germany's captain for the first time. He restores midfield depth Löw, who now has team selection decisions to make. Two more decisions come up front: will, and how, the manager use Mario Götze and Thomas Müller in attack. The two opponents for Germany are not the toughest, so the gaffer can get more creative with his World Cup champion side.
Matches: 3/29 vs. Republic of Ireland (Euro Qualifier)
Group D Record: 3 W, 1 D, 0 L – 10 pts. (1st)
Bayern Player: Robert Lewandowski
He may not be the primary goal scorer for his club anymore, but Lewandowski is the primary goal scorer for his country. The issue is that the supporting cast is several tiers below the one he has at Bayern. He has a greater responsibility of holding up the ball, playing with his back to goal, and making deceptive runs to manufacture space for others. Poland will need a victory to remain top in Group D, and Lewandowski will be a major part of each point Poland collects.
Matches: 3/27 vs. Ukraine (Euro Qualifier), 3/31 @ Netherlands (Friendly)
Group C Record: 3 W, 0 D, 1 L – 9 pts. (2nd)
Bayern Player: Juan Bernat
Just like with Bayern, Juan Bernat is stuck behind a world class fullback in the pecking order with Spain. Nonetheless, his inclusion into the national team means his time with Bayern has intrigued World Cup winning manager Vicente del Bosque. Spain only has two wing-focused attackers – Vitolo and Juan Bernat – while most of the other players are attacking midfielders who occasionally lease time on the flanks. Bernat's inclusion with Alba in the starting XI would be a very conservative tactic, but the 21-year-old remains a game changer for del Bosque off the bench.
Other International Activities
Matches: 3/28 vs. Uruguay (Friendly), 3/30 vs. Burkina Faso (Friendly)
Bayern Player: Medhi Benatia
The break in action has not looked good for Morocco, one which could be even longer if FIFA rejects their appeal for the African Cup of Nations. It was a blessing for disguise for Benatia, who has struggled with his fitness throughout his first season with Bayern. New head coach Ezzaiki Badou has called in his prized defender, and he should be fit to play after missing the match at the weekend with a yellow card suspension. Morocco is very low on the FIFA rankings for good reason, but their pieces have improved to the point where a friendly against Uruguay becomes much more interesting.
Højbjerg earned his way into Markus Weinzierl's starting XI on loan at Augsburg, and now he needs to do so for Morten Olsen's. Without a qualifier this cycle, the odds increase Olsen will give him a long look in. His competition is midfielders slowly falling away from their prime years, so Højbjerg has the opportunity to grasp his role with the red and white by the horns.
He is a focal point in Leipzig's midfield who Bayern can salivate over, but the validation of is talent is the fact the DFB included Kimmich in the U21 team preparing for the Euro U21 Championships in Czech Republic rather than the U20 one preparing for the U20 World Cup in New Zealand. In Lehmann's terms, the 20-year-old is playing with first team regulars Emre Can, Max Meyer, and Kevin Volland rather than reserve team youngsters Paul Seguin, Grischa Prömel, and Matti Steinmann. He has a lot of competition he needs to prove himself over, and friendlies against possible summer adversaries would be the place to do it.
Matches: 3/30 vs. Mexico U20 (Friendly)
Bayern Player: Patrick Puchegger (Bayern II)
Puchegger is in the opposite position as Kimmich, the reserve player getting called into the Austrian U20 team for their U20 World Cup tuneup match against Mexico. Most of the player who would play in this match are with the U21 team, so Puchegger has the opportunity to prove he deserves a plane ticket to New Zealand. The 19-year-old has not started for Erik ten Hag, getting five short appearances. What the defender has to offer is interesting to watch, especially with an expected transition in the reserve side next year.
Matches: 3/26 @ Slovakia U19 (Euro U19 Qualifier), 3/28 vs. Republic of Ireland U19 (Euro U19 Qualifier, 3/31 @ Czech Republic U19 (Euro U19 Qualifier)
Bayern Players: Gianluca Gaudino, Marco Hingerl (Bayern U19), Sinan Kurt
We do not hear Gaudino's name much anymore following the return of several Bayern midfielders, but he is a central figure in both of the U19 teams he is currently apart of. He is one of the centerpieces for Marcus Sorg, the Germany U19 coach, playing alongside Max Christiansen of FC Ingolstadt in central midfield. Hingerl has received a good run from Sorg as well, and the coach has even moved the 18-year-old around to keep him in the team. The one notable absence from the senior team is Sinan Kurt – perhaps making way for flavor of the week Leroy Sané – but he is on the provisional roster should Sorg need another body over the busy six-match period.