World Cup qualifiers: Burgstaller to face Nastasic on the road to Russia 2018

A host of Schalke 04 players will represent their countries in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers during the second international break of the season. These are the final two matches in European qualifying and will see two sets of Schalke players coming up against each other in the bid to reach Russia 2018.

The German national team can secure its place at the World Cup this Thursday (5.10) against Northern Ireland, who are second in the group. Leon Gortezka and Germany only need one point from the match to guarantee a place at Russia 2018. The game kicks off at 20:45 CEST in Belfast, before Germany host Azerbaijan in the final qualifier three days later. 

Blue and Whites come head-to-head

In Group D this Friday, Guido Burgstallers’ Austria come up against Matija Nastasic’s Serbia. While fourth-placed Austria can only hope to qualify via the playoffs, three points will do for Serbia to book their World Cup ticket as group winners. Austria then play Moldova on Monday (9.10) and Serbia host Georgia. 

Group I will also see two Schalke players on opposite sides. Yevhen Konoplyanka and Ukraine play away to Kosovo, who count Donis Avdijaj among their numbers. Ukraine lie in fourth place in the group and are two points of table-toppers, Croatia, who they play in the final qualifier on October 9th. 

Breel Embolo returns for Switzerland for the first time since his injury. Switzerland will look to defend their position at the top of the table, ahead of Portugal. The ‘Nati’ come up against Hungary in the first match before travelling to Lisbon for a top-of-the-table clash against the group favourites.

Harit looking to make Morocco debut

After pledging his allegiance to the Moroccan national team, Amine Harit can look forward to his debut for the North African side. Morocco are at home against Gabon on Saturday.

Finally, Thilo Kehrer and Alexander Nübel are in the Germany U21 squad for the European Cup qualifiers. First up is Azerbaijan at home before Norway away four days later.