Toni Kroos looking for partners: Sebastian Rudy, Sami Khedira or Ilkay Gündogan?
On Wednesday Germany will play South Korea and can perfect their place in the round of 16 (4 pm in the LIVETICKER). Once again, the question arises as to who will occupy the place in defensive midfield alongside Toni Kroos: Can Sebastian Rudy play after his nose job? Will Sami Khedira return? Is Ilkay Gündogan getting his chance?
Sebastian Rudy – the safety variant
Nobody expected Sebastian Rudy in the starting line-up before the match against Sweden – fans, experts and, above all, himself. Rudy seemed to be one of the players to complete the squad in breadth, but with little hope for a place in the defensive midfield behind Kroos, Khedira and Gündogan. Number five, if you include Leon Goretzka. After all, Rudy was just a supplement to FC Bayern Munich for most of the season, and many would have liked to have sacrificed him for another offensive option like Leroy Sane.
But on Friday, the national coach suddenly announced that the 28-year-old would be in the starting line. He should try to “put into practice the things that make me strong: See that I always go for the second balls, that I have a good counter-guard and hold my position,” said Rudy. And that, he stated, “I succeeded quite well at the beginning”.
In fact, Rudy fit very well into the team against Sweden in the first 25 minutes. Especially in the first quarter of the match, which Germany dominated at will except for two scenes, he did what he asked for flawlessly: inconspicuous but important for the team, as a link between defence and offensive, unagitated and careful on the ball. After all, he scored a goal, not a single one of his passes ended up with the opponent.
Unfortunately, he could not recommend himself for much longer: After Kroos’ Fehlpass, Rudy had to face Ola Toivonen – and after a painful encounter with his work tools, he was left with a debris fracture in his nose. The blood shot out of his nose for minutes, but despite the treatment he could not go on: In the 31st minute Gündogan came into play for him. The day after the game, Rudy had surgery to see if he could run into a mask is still unclear: “You should be prepared that he can’t play,” explained assistant Marcus Sorg on Monday.
Sebastian Rudy next to Toni Kroos: more stability at the expense of the offensive
Would Sebastian Rudy have made the starting line with an injury-free performance against Sweden? This can only be speculated about. At least he has submitted a small letter of application to Joachim Löw and Fußballdeutschland.
Compared to the alternatives, Rudy would be the most defensive player in the position next to Kroos: he doesn’t have the same forward momentum as Khedira or Gündogan, which would also minimize the potential midfield losses – the team’s biggest weakness in the tournament so far.
Instead, he’s made for securing for the Real Madrid superstar or the right flank offensive. Less about the dynamics and duel hardness, but above all about his positional play. Its function would be limited to improved stability in the team. If Löw relied on Rudy, he would sacrifice offensive potential for the benefit of the defense.
However, he would make the permanent rebuilding of the starting team dependent on a half an hour against an extremely low standing and playfully limited team. In the further course of the tournament calibers would wait, which would demand much more from Rudy. Neither the creativity and playful class of a Gündogan nor the dynamism and physicality of a Khedira characterize him. In addition, both are far more dangerous, Khedira especially with the standards so important in the tournament.
A Sebastian Rudy in the team would be the safety option, he is the “most one-dimensional” of all midfielders in the national coach’s arsenal. Should he be completely convinced of the offensive department – which is also currently in upheaval – a Rudy with a manageable role would be an option, even against stronger opponents.