Munich - Off the Ball,’s latest feature, casts a sideways eye over some of the stories on the Bundesliga stars doing the daily rounds.

On Thursday, international action continues to take precedence, with a fraternal twitter exchange between brothers on duty for different countries this week. For FC Bayern's resident French superstar meanwhile, it's more than a game in Kiev tomorrow, while there's good news for fans of Borussia Dortmund - and Poland.

is set to renew his acquaintance with former Manchester City colleague Mario Balotelli on the latter's current home stomping ground when Germany run out against Italy in Milan on Friday evening. The FC Bayern central defender, who is looking forward to a “good challenge" against the Italian supertalent, had time to post a quick tweet before take-off – and got a swift response from brother , himself currently on international duty with Ghana.

For Boateng's clubmate , meanwhile, the stakes are altogether higher as France travel to Ukraine for the first leg of their World Cup play-off. Failure to qualify would, in the words of the UEFA Best Player in Europe 2013, be “a catastrophe – for us and the whole country.” Ribery himself makes no bones about his chequered past at international level but, at 30 years old and in the form of his life, he told the sports daily L'Equipe “I hope there'll be a conciliatory ending with the national team as well.”

Heartening news from the Borussia Dortmund camp: was pictured back on the ball at Thursday training for the first time in five months. The 28-year-old Polish international full back last turned out competitively for BVB in the Champions League final defeat to FC Bayern at Wembley in May, subsequently undergoing hip and groin surgery that has kept him sidelined for the past five months.