Five Royal Blues called up for first international break of 2024

The first international break of 2024 starts this week. Two Schalke players – Darko Churlinov and Blendi Idrizi – have been included in their countries’ senior squads. Ibrahima Cissé has been called up for Mali U23s, who are preparing for the Olympic Games, while Yusuf Kabadayi and Keke Topp are in the Germany U20 squad.

Darko Churlinov’s North Macedonia will play two friendly matches in Aksu, Turkey. They will firstly face Moldova on Friday (22nd March) at 15:30 CET. On Monday (25th March), at 18:00 CET, the Royal Blues forward and his team will take on Montenegro.

Blendi Idrizi’s Kosovo will play two friendlies away from home, as they firstly visit Armenia on Friday (22nd March) at 17:00 CET before travelling to face Hungary on Tuesday (26th March) at 19:00 CET.

Ibrahima Cissé has been called up by Mali U23s. The West African side are away to Japan on Friday (22nd March) at 11:20 CET. The game will be an important measure of where Mali are at ahead of the 2024 Olympics. The Schalke defender and his team qualified for the tournament in July and August by virtue of their third-placed finish at last year’s U-23 Africa Cup of Nations.

Two Schalke players – Yusuf Kabadayi and Keke Topp – are in the Germany U20 squad. Their team will face France twice, on Friday (22nd March) and Monday (25th March). Both games will be played in the Spanish city of Valencia, and will both kick off at 15:00 CET.

Assan Ouédraogo will however not feature in the upcoming international matches following discussions with the DFB. The midfielder, who has recently returned from a long injury lay-off, was originally named in the Germany U18 squad.

Overview of all fixtures:

Darko Churlinov
North Macedonia – Moldova, 22.3, 15.30 CET, Aksu
North Macedonia – Montenegro, 25.3, 18:00 CET, Aksu

Blendi Idrizi
Armenia – Kosovo, 22.3, 17:00 CET, Yerevan
Hungary – Kosovo, 26.3, 19:00 CET, Budapest

Ibrahima Cissé
Japan U23 – Mali U23, 22.3, 11:20 CET, Osaka

Yusuf Kabadayi and Keke Topp
Germany U20s
Germany U20 – France U20, 22.3, 15:00 CET, Valencia
France U20 – Germany U20, 25.3, 15:00 CET, Valencia