Once again Bundesliga players represented their home nations across the globe during the first round of games of the international break. Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibišević scored a hat trick, while Jefferson Farfan of Schalke had a brace and Bayern München’s Manuel Neuer as well as Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio registered clean sheets over the weekend in international play.
UEFA World Cup Qualifying
Germany began its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-0 Group 3 victory over the Faroe Islands. Twenty year-old Borussia Dortmund star Mario Götze got Germany on the scoreboard with his third international goal, while Real Madrid’s Mesut Özil, who played for Werder Bremen between 2008-2010, scored two second half goals for the Germans, while Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer earned the clean sheet. In other group 3 action, SpVgg Greuther Fürth’s Heinrich Schmidtgal was in the starting XI for Kazakhstan as they lost 2-1 to the Republic of Ireland on last-minute goals by Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle.
In Group One action Friday, Werder Bremen loanee Kevin De Bruyne was a 64th minute substitute for Belgium in their 2-0 victory in Wales while Croatia defeated Macedonia 1-0 in a game that featured Dortmund’s Ivan Perišić and Mario Mandžukić of Bayern Munich in their starting XI, while Mainz’ Nikolče Noveski played the entire 90 for the Macedonians. Group Four fixtures saw Schalke’s Ciprian Marica score the insurance goal for Romania in their 2-0 win over Estonia, while Hungary romped over Andorra in a 5-0 win, with Mainz’ Adam Szalai scoring his sixth international goal and Tamas Hajnal of Stuttgart also featuring in the starting lineup. Bayern München’s Arjen Robben was a starter for the Netherlands in their 2-0 win over a Turkish side featuring Bayer Leverkusen’s Omar Toprak, Stuttgart’s Tunay Torun and Greuther Fürth’s Sercan Sararer as starters. Former Dortmund man Nuri Sahin came in at the hour mark for the Turks.
Borussia Mönchengladbach’s teenaged midfielder Granit Xhaka notched the first goal for Ottmar Hitzefeld’s Switzerland team in their 2-0 win Slovenia. Fellow Bundesliga players Eren Derdiyok of Hoffenheim, Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern München, Tranquillo Barnetta of Schalke and Wolfsburg’s Diego Benaglio and Ricardo Rodriguez were also starters for the Swiss.Veteran Koln player Mišo Brečko was a starter for the Slovenians. Other Group 5 action saw Iceland defeat a Norwegian team featuring Gladbach’s Havard Nordveit and Hannover’s Moa Abdellaoue 2-0. Eintracht Frankfurt’s Vadim Demidov was an unused sub for Norway.
Friday in Group 6 play, Ben Sahar of Hertha Berlin and Almog Cohen of Nurnberg were unused subs in Israel’s 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan while in Group 7 Bosnia-Herzegovina dumped Liechtenstein 8-1 in a match featuring a hat trick by Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibišević. Hoffenheim’s Sejad Salihović was also a starter for the Bosnian side that also featured a hat trick from former Wolfsburg striker Eden Dzeko. A Greek side featuring defenders Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Schalke and Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Werder Bremen, along with Konstantinos Fortounis of Kaiserslautern won in Latvia 2-1, with former Frankfurt man Theofanis Gekas scoring the winning goal.
Poland drew in Montenegro 2-2 Friday. The Polish side featured the trio of Dortmund stars Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczekowski and Lukasz Piszczek, along with Mainz’ Eugen Polanski in the starting lineup, with Kuba scoring one of Poland’s goals. Franck Ribery was in the French starting lineup that defeated Finland 1-0. The Finns had Bundesliga players Teemu Pukki of Schalke and Gladbach’s Alexander Ring amongst their starting XI.
On Saturday in UEFA WC qualifiers, Scotland and Serbia played to a scoreless draw with Dortmund’s Neven Subotic not playing in the match for Serbia. Denmark and the Czech Republic also played to a scoreless draw Saturday in a match that featured Stuttgart’s William Kvist and Wolfsburg’s Simon Kjaer among the starters with Hannover’s Leon Andreasen andFürth’s Tobias Mikkelsen coming on in the second half while the Czech Republic lineup featured Nurnberg’s Tomáš Pekhart, Hamburg’s newly acquired Petr Jiráček, Michael Kadlec of Bayer Leverkusen and Theodor Gebre Selassie of Werder Bremen.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying
The CONMEBOL WCQ match between Peru and Venezuela Friday evening featured Bundesliga players making an impact for both countries. Gladbach’s Juan Arango scored another patented free kick goal for Venezuela, while Schalke’s Jefferson Farfan of Peru tallied twice to lead the Peruvian squad that also featured Bayern Munich’s Claudio Pizarro and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Carlos Zambrano to a 2-1 win over their South American foes. Elkin Soto of Mainz and former Köln goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon were unused substitutes in Colombia’s surprising 4-0 win over Uruguay.
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
Stuttgart defender Francisco ‘Maza’ Rodriguez started for Mexico in their 2-0 CONCACAF WC qualifier over Costa RIca Saturday, while Eintracht Frankfurt’s Olivier Occean and Köln’s Kevin McKenna started for Canada in their 1-0 win over Panama, avenging a late comeback by the Panamanians in the 2011 Gold Cup that kept the Canadians from advancing from the group stages of that tournament. Augsburg’s Marcel de Jong was a substitute for Stephen Hart’s victorious Canadian side.
The USMNT was stunned by the pacy Reggae Boyz of Jamaica in Kingston Friday evening, losing 2-1. Hannover captain Steve Cherundolo was a scratch for the Americans because of a strained calf, while Hoffenheim’s Fabian Johnson and Schalke’s Jermaine Jones started for the United States. Hoffenheim’s Daniel Williams was a second half substitute for the U.S. in a sluggish performance under Coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The Americans face Jamaica Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.
Japan defeated the United Arab Emirates last Thursday 1-0. Hannover’s Hiroki Sakai, Nürnberg’s Hiroshi Kiyotake and Wolfsburg’s Makoto Hasebe were starters for Japan, with Stuttgart’s Shinji Okazaki and Gotoku Sakai and Leverkusen’s Hajime Hosoga seeing playing time off the bench. Australia’s German coach Holger Osiek had plenty to smile about as his side defeated Lebanon in another Thursday friendly 3-0. Fortuna Düsseldorf forward Robbie Kruse, whose energetic play has been a plus factor in Düsseldorf’s perfect start to the Bundesliga season, was a starter for Osiek along with Mainz newcomer Nikita Rukavytsya.