Can 1. FC Köln Midfielder Marcel Risse be an Answer to Germany’s Fullback Shortage?

This post was originally published on Planet Effzeh:

The idea that Marcel Risse could give 1. FC Köln a second player on the German national team has been revisited by German football site Kicker, based on a series of  Jörg Schmadtke quotes and the seeming unrest about the DFB’s defensive row after Germany struggled a bit in the final stretch of qualifying for next summer’s European Championship.

Could Risse get a shot at solving the question at right back for Germany?

Joachim Löw lobbed some criticism toward Jonas Hector after the last international break featured a 1:0 loss to Ireland and an underwhelming 2:1 win over Georgia, saying “we lack the variant that we break through on the flank. We play too early into the middle.”

Löw added that it was hard to fully blame the players themselves, as it was something they lacked from their club training, a criticism that did not sit well with Peter Stöger. who responded with his typical deadpan manner by referring to his added duties toward the national team before offering praise of Hector’s development, reminding everyone that his progress in Köln had been at least enough for Löw to have brought him into the team on a continued basis since his first nomination. Stöger added that he and his coaching staff were “pleased with Jonas, without adding ‘if’ or ‘but’.”

The public exchange led to an unannounced visit to the Geissbockheim by Löw assistant Thomas Schneider, presumably to clear the air between the two entities. Schneider declined to give details about the discussion other than to call it a “A very good exchange of views in good spirits.”

One can only speculate on just how much Schneider’s visit impacts Schmadtke’s view on Risse’s chances of being nominated to the national team as an offensively capable right back, but the effzeh sporting director did offer, “After the last international match, I heard that there was too little offensively from the outside defenders,” without clarifying whether he was referring to Löw’s public commentary or something he heard directly from Schneider.

Kicker writer Stefan von Nocks would seem to agree, pointing to Risse’s 2.88 average Kicker rating from his four starts at right back this season, of which Schmadtke says, “He does well, conducts himself very conscientiously, which is not always the case when you put offensive player in the back.”

Stöger will likely have to decide whether to keep Risse at right back for the home match against FSV Mainz on the other side of the international break, as nominal starter Pawel Olkowski seems to be on his way to full recovery from a minor injury that forced the move of the midfielder to the defensive row. Though Risse provided the assists on both goals in the 1:2 derby victory at Leverkusen through set pieces, he was instrumental in setting up several chances, including one big early opportunity connecting with his usual target Anthony Modeste.

Schmadtke knows, though, it’s not a simple matter of sticking with something that has been working, but that Risse’s defensive abilities offers both the FC and potentially the DFB some interesting possibilities.

“If they want to invite Marcel, no problem.”

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.