Germany travel to Russia in the summer as holders of the World Cup, but face a stiff challenge to regain their title. At football’s largest tournament there will be a some unfamiliar faces for German fans as a handful of Bundesliga 2 players have the chance to play on the world’s biggest stage against the very best. This list will round-up ten players that might get a call up from their nation to play in Russia and raise the calibre of the German second tier.
1. Mikael Ishak – Nurnberg - Sweden
Top of the table, Nurnberg have been flying this season and this has been mostly down to the goals from Mikael Ishak. The former Koln striker, has matured this season and has a great chance to travel to Russia as a part of the Swedish team. Ishak has four caps for the Blue and Yellow and will be hungry to increase that number. If the striker maintains his excellent form to the end of the season and Nurnberg get promoted back to the Bundesliga he has a brilliant chance of getting into Janne Andersson’s squad.
2. Christoffer Nyman - Eintracht Braunschweig – Sweden
Bundesliga 2 has another Swedish striker who has the potential to make his way into Andersson’s squad. Eintracht Braunschweig’s striker Christoffer Nyman scored for his country during qualification and could pip Ishak to getting a place on the plane to Russia. Nyman was prolific for Swedish side Norrköping before joining the Lions in 2016. He has continued to find the net on a regular basis, but has been unable to keep up with Ishak this season. If he has a good finish to the season with Braunschweig he can give himself a good chance to make the squad for the summer. Sweden have a number of young strikers with only a handful of caps, so Nyman’s ten caps can give him an advantage.
3. Genki Haraguchi - Fortuna Dusseldorf – Japan
Genki Haraguchi joined Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan in January from Hertha Berlin to help Flingeraner return to the top flight. The experienced winger has over 25 caps for Japan and is playing regular football again and has the quality to get himself back into the World Cup squad. Haraguchi has already scored and created two assists for Fortuna in his three games for the club and can give Japan some vital experience in Russia this summer.
4. Takashi Usami - Fortuna Dusseldorf – Japan
Another Japanese player who joined Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan this season is winger Takashi Usami from Augsburg. The pacey winger has been consistently playing for Dusseldorf this season as they sit second in the table. He has recently hit form with two goals in his last two games and has a great chance to get into Vahid Halilhodžić's squad if he can maintain this level of play. He even played and scored in Japan’s qualification to get to Russia further increasing his chances of being present in the summer.
5. Rúrik Gíslason – Sandhausen – Iceland
A player who is most likely to be on the plane to Russia is Icelandic international Rúrik Gíslason. The forward recently signed for Sandhausen to boost their promotion push and has made a steady start in Baden-Württemberg. Gislason failed to make the EURO 2016 squad, but with a number of players retiring after that tournament he has a great chance to get into Heimir Hallgrímsson's squad in the summer. The forward has 43 caps for Iceland and was called up to the squad again at the end of 2017 in a friendly against Qatar.
6. Robbie Kruse – Bochum – Australia
The most experienced player on the list will travel to Russia if does not get injured is Bochum’s winger Robbie Kruse. The Australian forward was ever present in the Socceroos qualification to the World Cup Finals and played in the World Cup four years ago. Kruse has a made a decent career in Germany, but is currently struggling near the foot of the table with Bochum. However, with 60 caps for Australia, head coach Bert van Marwijk will look to Kruse for experience and to boost his side's chances of progressing to the knock out stage from Group C.
7. Brandon Borrello – Kaiserslautern – Australia
An Australian with an outside chance of making the Socceroos squad for the summer is Kaiserslautern winger Brandon Borrello. Joining from Brisbane Roar the previous summer, the winger has made a decent start to his career in Europe. Kaiserslautern have improved under manager Michael Frontzeck and a key reason for the upturn in results is Borrello. The pacey right winger has been involved in six goals in his last eight games, is direct and delivers a good cross. He has been capped for the Under 23 side, but with a lack of wingers in the Australian squad, Borrello has an excellent chance to get a call up if he continues his good form for the Red Devils.
8. Ji Dong-won – Darmstadt – South Korea
A player with plenty of experience in putting on his national jersey is Darmstadt’s striker Ji Dong-won. The South Korean on loan from Augsburg, has nearly fifty caps for the Taeguk Warriors and scored during the sides qualification for Russia. The striker joined Darmstadt to play regular football and if he can hit form and keep his new side up he will have a great chance to get back into the squad. The former Sunderland striker, has scored one goal for Darmstadt this season and looks to be over his injury problems from the start of the season. South Korea have a limited number of strikers so he has a good chance to get into the squad, especially with Korea drawn in such a difficult group.
9. Asger Sørensen - Jahn Regensburg – Denmark
Asger Sørensen is a young Danish defender shining for Jahn Regensburg this season on loan from Bundesliga side Red Bull Salzburg. Sørensen has been a rock at the back for Regensburg and is a strong factor why the Bavarian side sit fifth in the table. The former Red Bull Salzburg defender has not made his debut for the Danish national team, but has been playing regularly at youth level. If he maintains his excellent form in Bundesliga 2 he has a decent chance of getting into Åge Hareide’s squad for the summer. Denmark have a number of defenders with a handful of caps and Sørensen has the potential to freshen up the Red-White’s back line.
10. Moussa Koné - Dynamo Dresden - Senegal
Moussa Koné is another young player with an outside chance of a call up and if he maintains his decent form he can get himself into the Senegalese squad. Dynamo Dresden signed the young striker from FC Zürich in the winter after impressing for the Swiss side over two seasons. Kone scored on his debut for Dresden and has two goals in four games. He has bags of pace and if he continues his decent strike rate can push his way into Aliou Cissé’s squad for the summer. However, it will be hard task with Senegal having a number of strikers that play in the top leagues around Europe.
The league has a number of exciting talents and hopefully a number of the players discussed can make their way to the World Cup this summer. With a quarter of the Bundesliga 2 season still to play, it still gives an opportunity for the players to impress before the tournament starts in June.
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