Bayern Munich: International break review for the Bundesliga table-toppers
Unfortunately, due to the recent controversial dismissal of Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Jerome Boateng by German coach Joachim Löw, the three were unable to and will be unable to represent their country. A tribute towards the three was shown by the fans during the Germany v Serbia friendly in the Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg by holding up a display reading "Danke 5-13-17", the jersey numbers of Hummels, Müller, and Boateng respectively.
Adding to the controversy, the jersey numbers worn by the mentioned players had already been reassigned with Lukas Klostermann of RB Leipzig receiving the Number 13 jersey, Niklas Stark, the defensive midfielder from Hertha Berlin wearing the Number 17 and Jonathan Tah of Bayer Leverkusen donning the Number 5 of Hummels, having "asked permission" from the latter for wearing the jersey.
"He called me, it was an incredibly nice, very nice gesture from him, and I told him that several times."
Germany drew against Serbia with Bayern's Leon Goretzka equalising the Frankfurt magician Luka Jovic's 12th-minute header in the 69th minute.
Their second match was against a formidable Dutch side and it was a qualifier match for the 2020 Euro Cup. The Germans and the Dutch fought well with Serge Gnabry scoring a thumper in the 34th minute after finding his way away from Virgil Van Dijk who had caused his side so many problems in their previous encounter in the Champions League at the Allianz Arena. The Germans won against a tooth and nail side with a late goal from Nico Schulz.
Bayern star Robert Lewandowski's side Poland won two matches in a row in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Austria (1-0) and Latvia (2-0) with Lewandowski finding the net once against Latvia in the 76th minute.
Meanwhile, in the other continent, James Rodriguez represented Columbia who won against Japan and lost against South Korea, the same team that knocked Germany out of the World Cup one year ago.
Neither Thiago nor Javi Martinez was called up by Spain to play.
Well, what would this have to do with the Bundesliga? For starters, everyone expected Germany (the side having the maximum number of Bayern players) to perform badly this international break owing to their disastrous World Cup campaign but they definitely surpassed everyone's expectations, even mine, as a fan of Germany myself. The players will have gained a lot of confidence from the success of this international break and will definitely take it back to their respective clubs.
Robert Lewandowski scoring 1 goal in 2 games and winning both for Poland, will be carrying forward his form as the top scorer in the Bundesliga with 18 goals.
Currently, Bayern Munich leads the Bundesliga table, tied at 60 points with Dortmund but have a goal difference of 41 as opposed to Dortmund's goal difference of 34. Thus, the title race is very heated up and with Reus back to play for Dortmund, it is not going to die down any time soon. Each matchday will be important for the Bavarians. Each point will count. They have to win every single match from here on in unless Dortmund slips up completely and lets them take a massive lead. The same goes for Dortmund. Both teams will be keeping an eye out for each other. This weekend, Bayern faces 11th placed Freiburg while Dortmund faces Wolfsburg who had been humiliated by the Bavarians 2 matchdays ago.
The next week will be certainly the deciding factor as to who will take away the league title this season for it is the most anticipated Der Klassiker, this time at the Allianz Arena in Munich. When both sides met previously at the Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund won against Bayern by 3 goals to 2. Bayern definitely showed fight and spirit but Dortmund emerged on top. Bayern has been in tremendous form in recent weeks, having won 5 straight matches in a row in the Bundesliga, in hopes of making it 6 this weekend.
What will happen at the end of the season? Who will come out on top? With just 8 matchdays to go, the answer might come sooner than we think.