Bundesliga players on international duty | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 17.10.2018
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Bundesliga players on international duty

Perfect Paco, miserable Munich, bizarre Bayer: there were mixed fortunes for Bundesliga players on international duty this week. But how will their experiences with their countries affect their domestic form?

Old concerns but new hope for Bayern Munich?

After Germany's back-to-back Nations League defeats, Bayern Munich's German contingent are now six games without a win.

For good or for worse, Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller still form the spine of both Joachim Löw's national team and Niko Kovac's Bayern side - but the international break offered previous little respite for Bayern's beleaguered players.  

Against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng looked hopelessly off the pace when confronted with a young Dutch attack, although Hummels did make a better impression in a back-three alongside Matthias Ginter and Niklas Süle against France.

Thomas Müller's late appearance in the Stade de France was too fleeting to be judged, but his goalless 57 minutes against the Netherlands made it seven games without a goal for Germany.

- Read more: How Germany's players rated vs. France

Elsewhere, it's now over 540 minutes since Robert Lewandowski last found the net for his country as Poland were relegated from their Nations League group, while Thiago Alcantara was part of a Spain team which was overrun by England in a furious first half in Seville.

There were positives for Bayern too though as they head off on the road for a week with three tricky away games against Wolfsburg, AEK Athens and Mainz. James Rodriguez, who has been out of favor under Kovac, scored a wonder-goal for Colombia against the United States while Süle and Serge Gnabry were among Germany's better performers in Paris, especially in the first half – vindication for those fans and critics who have called upon Löw to move on from his 2014 World Cup winners and give the country's next generation a chance.

In Munich, Kovac's task at the Allianz Arena isn't dissimilar – but will the Croatian take note?

Paco Alcacer in scintillating form

After scoring three goals over the international break, Spanish football fans now know what Borussia Dortmund supporters have known since the start of the season: Paco Alcacer is in the form of his life.

His brace in a friendly against Wales followed by a smart header against England to make it ten goals in six games for club and country for the 25-year-old, statistics which will give BVB confidence going into games against Stuttgart, Atletico Madrid and Hertha Berlin next week.

Jadon Sancho's Bundesliga form also saw him given a chance on the national stage as he made his England debut against Croatia on Friday night. "I didn't hesitate to throw Jadon in so late on," said Three Lions coach Gareth Southgate. "We know what sort of impact his can have on a game and that's precisely what he did when we got the ball to him."

Elsewhere, Axel Witsel and Achraf Hakimi played 90 minutes for Belgium and Morocco respectively.

- Read more: Dortmund's Alcacer hits brace on Spain return

Leon Bailey goes on strike

After deciding to accept a call-up to the Jamaican national team, Leon Bailey had a chance to rediscover his form after a disappointing start to the season with Bayer Leverkusen, in which he has only managed one goal and one assist in nine games.

But the 21-year-old refused to play, claiming that the Jamaican FA had reneged on an agreement to also select Bailey's half-brother, Kyle Butler, who plays for FC Juniors OÖ, a farm team for Austrian Bundesliga side ASK Linz, and who once made ten appearances for Maltese side St. Andrews.

"I need players who understand me," Bailey told the "Jamaica Gleaner" newspaper. "I have to think of my own interests and if I were to play for Jamaica without suitable support, it could damage my career."

The episode is just the latest in a series of incidents which have pitted Bailey and his stepfather and agent Craig Butler, against the Jamaican FA, with kicker magazine speculating that Bailey is being used by Butler to get his son Kyle into the national team.

Either way, it's not gone down well with Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich. "You know my opinion on this," the 46-year-old told reporters with an expression that suggested he wasn't all too pleased with his striker, who has thus far failed to replicate last season's form. "I'll have to discuss the situation with him in private."

In the coming week, 14th-place Leverkusen face Hannover at home before trips to FC Zürich and Werder Bremen.

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