It’s that time once again; time for another international break beginning next week that will run from March 21st-26th. This is the first international break since the fall of 2018, which consisted of UEFA Nations League matches and international friendlies, at least for Bayern Munich’s players.
Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer, Niklas Sule, and Leon Goretzka have all been called up for the German National Team while Robert Lewandowski (Poland), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Kingsley Coman (France), David Alaba (Austria), and Alphonso Davies (Canada) have all been calledd up for their respective countries. In addition to the trio of Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng who are no longer a part of Die Mannschaft, Thiago Alcantara missed out on the Spain squad while Renato Sanches also missed out on a spot in Portugal’s squad.
With that said, here’s an overview of key matches worth watching from a Bayern perspective during the break (listed in chronological order by date of the match)
Poland vs. Austria - Thursday, March 21st. 3:45 PM EST
Lewandowski and Alaba will go head to head at the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna, Austria in the first EURO 202 qualifier for both sides. Alaba will be looking to keep his Bayern teammate quiet, but Lewandowski will be especially hungry to find the back of the net as he captains Poland. He hasn’t scored for his country since last summer, when he scored a brace in a pre World Cup friendly against Lithuania in June. He’ll be looking to take his goal-scoring form for Bayern to Poland, as he will have been thoroughly disappointed not to have registered a goal in either the World Cup or the UEFA Nations League.
Germany vs. The Netherlands - Sunday, March 24th. 3:45 PM EST
SO much rides on this match for Die Mnnschaft. Jogi Low will have the opportunity to perhaps experiment with his squad a bit in their friendly against Serbia just 4 days prior to the match against The Netherlands, but he has to get it right at the Amsterdam Arena. Kimmich and Sule could both start in the backline, while Low has affirmed that Neuer will continue to be the number one keeper. Having just come back from injury, Goretzka might not see many minutes between both matches.
It goes without saying that it’s been an incredibly turbulent 10 months for Germany with the Mesut Özil, the disastrous World Cup campaign, a lackluster UEFA Nations League campaign, and now Low’s controversial decision to remove Muller, Hummels, and Boateng from the ranks. Low said that he wants to give some of the younger German players a chance and he better hope for his sake that some of those players step up and deliver. A win against the Netherlands could be massive for the positive momentum of Die Mannschaft, but a loss could dig them even deeper in the hole that they’re in.
France vs. Iceland - Monday, March 25th. 3:45 PM EST
This will be a rematch of the quarter finals of Euro 2016, which France won 5-2 en route to eventually face Portugal in the final (we won’t mention who they beat in the semi’s.) Kingsley Coman has been called up to the French National Team by Didier Deschamps for the first time since November 2017 after experiencing a number of injury set backs for both club and country between then and now. Having just returned from a brief ankle injury, it remains to be seen whether or not Coman will get any minutes against Iceland, who can be a tricky opponent. Still, though, it would be refreshing to see Coman get time with Les Bleus since it’s been so long for him and he had to watch his compatriots lift the World Cup title from a t.v. screen while he was out injured. Even if it’s only a brief appearance or Coman, it’d be such a big step in the right direction for his standing with the national team.
Other occasions worth monitoring during the break:
- Alphonso Davies playing with Canada in their CONCACAF Nations League Q qualifier against French Guiana. Hopefully, The Phonsie puts in some solid work against a favorable opponent.
- James Rodriguez in Colombia’s friendlies against Japan (Friday, March 23rd. 6:20 AM EST) and South Korea (Tuesday, March 26th. 7:00 AM EST).
- Robert Lewandowski against a more favorable Latvia (Sunday, March 24th. 3:45 PM EST). If he doesn’t score against Austria, he should have more ample opportunities to break his goal rut for Poland against Latvia in Warsaw.
To all of our readers and commenters, enjoy the international break and best of luck to your respective countries!