Joachim Löw's Germany squad will be granted an audience with Pope Francis when the team travels to Italy for a friendly with the Azzurri next month.
Group C qualifier
The World champions face San Marino in Seravalle on 11 November in their fourth 2018 World Cup qualifying game before meeting Italy for a friendly in Milan four days later.
The Germany squad will meet the 79-year-old Pontiff in his Apostolic Palace residence in the Vatican City at some point during their stay in Italy. “It's great that this will be possible; it does not matter which religious ideologies you have - it's a great thing for everyone when the team gets involved in other things”, Löw explained in Monday’s press conference in Frankfurt as he confirmed his contract extension, committing to the national team until 2020.
Several members of the Germany squad are Muslim, including Arsenal pair Mesut Özil, defender Shkodran Mustafi, Juventus’ Sami Khedira and Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan. Pope Francis is an avid football fan and is an honorary member of 2.Bundesliga outfit 1960 Munich.