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Nine Reds away on international duty

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Nine Reds away on international duty

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:25 pm

19.03.2007

The Bundesliga programme takes a break next weekend to allow for a round of internationals, but as ever, a good proportion of the Munich squad will be hard at work with their respective national teams. One or two Bayern stars will only see friendly action, but most are battling for vital points in the race to qualify for the Euro 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland. Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld is without a total of nine players over the next 10 days.

<b>Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger</b> and <b>Lukas Podolski</b> have all been called up to the Germany squad for the clash of the Euro 2008 Group D heavyweights when Joachim Löw's team travel to Prague on 24 March for a showdown against the Czech Republic. The pair are neck-and-neck at the top of the standings on 10 points, but although the Germans have their noses in front on goal difference, they will field an injury-depleted line-up in the Czech capital.

<b>Podolski suspended for Denmark clash</b>

Löw will be forced to switch things around for a friendly against Denmark in Duisburg on 28 March as Podolski is suspended for that match, while Lahm and Schweinsteiger may well be rested.

Following a lengthy lay-off with injury, <b>Owen Hargreaves</b> returns to the England squad for a vital qualifying double-header away to Israel (24 March) and Andorra (28 March). The man voted England player of the year 2006 is finally fit again following a broken leg sustained last autumn. England lie third in Group E on seven points behind leaders Croatia (10 points) and Russia (7).

<b>Last chance for Belgium?</b>

France coach Raymond Domenech has named Bayern right-back <b>Willy Sagnol</b> in his squad for a qualifier in Lithuania on 24 March, followed by a friendly against Euro 2008 joint hosts Austria at the Stade de France in Paris four days later. The World Cup runners-up lie level with surprise package Scotland at the top of Group B on 9 points, ahead of World Cup winners Italy on seven points.

The Bayern man facing the most pressure to win must be <b>Daniel van Buyten</b> who leads the Belgian team in Portugal on Saturday. The <i>Diables Rouge</i> have amassed just seven points from five matches and lie a miserable fifth in Group A, level on points with the Portuguese. The Belgians must win to retain any hope of sealing a berth at next year's tournament.

<b>Lucio in Sweden, Roque in the air</b>

Both <b>Lucio</b> and <b>Roque Santa Cruz</b> appear for their respective national teams in friendly matches. Lucio and his Brazil team-mates are in Sweden to face Chile on 24 March in Gothenburg and Ghana three days later in Stockholm. Santa Cruz, called up by Paraguay for the first time since the World Cup, undertakes the long trip to Mexico (25 March) and Columbia (28 March).

Last but not least, <b>Ali Karimi</b> will represent Iran next Saturday when he and his team-mates travel to Qatar.
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