Bundesliga 2 has its fair share of 2022 FIFA World Cup candidates, including the USA's Julian Green. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH
Bundesliga 2 has its fair share of 2022 FIFA World Cup candidates, including the USA's Julian Green. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH
2. Bundesliga

Scott Kennedy, Jackson Irvine, Julian Green and Bundesliga 2's 2022 FIFA World Cup hopefuls


Canada's Scott Kennedy, Australia's Jackson Irvine and the USA's Julian Green are among the Bundesliga 2-based players hoping to be involved at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

bundesliga.com runs down some of the most likely candidates...

Scott Kennedy

Club: Regensburg
Position: Centre-back
Country: Canada

Kennedy is expected to be part of Canada's first World Cup campaign since 1986. The Regensburg centre-back won all eight of his senior caps to date during CONCACAF qualifying, and is guaranteed regular minutes at the heart of the Jahn defence in the new Bundesliga 2 season. The 6'3" defender is a tough tackler and towering presence at both ends, as evidenced by his two goals from set-pieces last term.

Will Regensburg's Scott Kennedy get to don the red and white of Canada at Qatar 2022? - Imago

Jackson Irvine

Club: St. Pauli
Position: Central midfielder
Country: Australia

Playing in Bundesliga 2 has also worked wonders for Irvine's international career. The no-nonsense St. Pauli midfielder was an ever-present during the Socceroos' Asian qualifying circuit, only missing three of 18 group games, before opening the scoring in the fourth-round decider against the United Arab Emirates and playing the full 120 minutes in the play-off victory over Peru. Needless to say he's a shoo-in for club and country.

Watch: Jackson Irvine got Pauli off to a winning start in 2022/23

Julian Green

Club: Greuther Fürth
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: USA

Green has his work cut out if he's to break back into the US squad. The Floridian hasn't represented his country since November 2018, but did earn his first call-up to a Gregg Berhalter squad in May 2021. A goal on Matchday 1 of 2022/23 won't have done his chances any harm. The former Bayern Munich youngster also has prior World Cup experience, having featured in the 2014 edition in Brazil, where he became the USA's youngest scorer in the competition with his extra-time goal against Belgium in the last 16.

Watch: Get to know Julian Green's story

Masaya Okugawa

Club: Arminia Bielefeld
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: Japan

Masaya Okugawa was Arminia Bielefeld's eight-goal top scorer in the Bundesliga last season, adding to his five goals the previous campaign. He's previously done the business in Bundesliga 2 and the Austrian Bundesliga, but is yet to be capped at senior international level, with the likes of Takuma Asano (Bochum) and Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt) keeping him out of the equation - at least for now...

Watch: Masaya Okugawa in action for Arminia Bielefeld

Ao Tanaka

Club: Fortuna Düsseldorf
Position: Midfielder
Country: Japan

Ao Tanaka's World Cup prospects are a shade rosier. Making his mark on Bundesliga 2 during a loan spell with Fortuna Düsseldorf last season, the 23-year-old midfielder enjoyed a run of seven straight 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying appearances, whilst featuring in all four of Japan's June internationals. Now on the books of promotion hopefuls Fortuna on a permanent deal, he's in the ideal setting to stake his claim to a World Cup starting berth.

Ao Tanaka could come up against Germany in 2022 FIFA World Cup Group E. - Imago

Gideon Jung

Club: Greuther Fürth
Position: Defensive midfielder
Country: Germany/ Ghana

Gideon Jung missed the majority of the 2021/22 campaign through injury. The seasoned defender has made 138 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 appearances down the years, though, and would be a handy addition to Ghana's World Cup squad. Assuming he's fit and on form, the Black Stars could do worse than tempt the ex-Germany U21 international to switch allegiance in time for Qatar.

Gideon Jung has German-Ghanaian citizenship. - Imago

Kwasi Wriedt

Club: Holstein Kiel
Position: Forward
Country: Ghana

Kwasi Wriedt is another option for Ghana. The Holstein Kiel forward has three senior appearances with Bayern on his CV, as well as a 3. Liga winner's medal for the record champions' reserve team. Wriedt left for the Netherlands' Willem II in summer 2020, scoring 12 goals in 42 Eredivisie games before returning to Germany with Holstein Kiel in January. Three goals in 15 appearances for the club show he's no slouch in the final third.

Watch: Kwasi Wriedt stunned Werder Bremen last season

Kwadwo Duah

Club: Nuremberg
Position: Forward
Country: Switzerland/ Ghana

Kwadwo Duah could be a potential obstacle for six-time Ghana international Wriedt. The Nuremberg summer signing hit 18 goals in 39 matches for Switzerland's St. Gallen last season, whilst chipping in with six assists. If he can replicate that kind of form in Bundesliga 2, Ghana head coach Otto Addo - a Borussia Dortmund defender in his playing days - might just pick up the phone to make his pitch to the England-born Switzerland youth international.

Kwadwo Duah (c.) scored a consolation goal on his Bundesliga 2 debut. - Imago

Gaël Ondoua

Club: Hannover
Position: Midfielder
Country: Cameroon

Gaël Ondoua's already been handed his first senior caps. The Hannover midfielder featured in Cameroon's decisive World Cup qualifiying tie with Algeria, making his full debut in the victorious away leg. He got another few minutes under his belt in AFCON Africa Cup of Nations qualifying in June - reward for some industrious and tenacious showings across 22 Bundesliga 2 appearances in a Hannover shirt in 2021/22.

Gael Onduoa's (c.) Cameroon are in a group with Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia. - Imago

Kyoung-rok Choi

Club: Karlsruhe
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: South Korea

Kyoung-rok Choi's an outside bet for the South Korea team. Despite being a regular in the Karslruhe midfield - 44 appearances comprising 10 goals and three assists over the past two seasons - he hasn't represented his country since turning out for the U23s at the 2016 Olympics. Freiburg's Wooyeong Jeong and ex-Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen attacker Heung-Min Son are among the competition in his position.

Kyoung-rok Choi (l.) has played for South Korea's U22 and U23 teams. - Imago

Tatsuya Ito

Club: Magdeburg (on loan from Sint-Truiden)
Position: Left winger
Country: Japan

Tatsuya Ito was part of Japan's 2016 Olympic contingent. He went on to play 20 times in the Bundesliga for Hamburg, producing three assists, only to fall out of favour the following campaign. A three-year spell at Belgium's Sint-Truiden lacking in regular minutes hasn't deterred promoted Magdeburg, where the 25-year-old will hope to rediscover the kind of form that earned him the Bundesliga's Rookie of the Month award for April 2018.

Tatsuya Ito is back in Germany with Magdeburg. - Imago

Other candidates

George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld/ USA)
Lennard Maloney (Heidenheim/ USA)
Timothy Tillman (Greuther Fürth/ Germany/ USA)
Jacob Barrett Laursen (Arminia Bielefeld/ Denmark)
Mario Vuskovic (Hamburg/ Croatia)
Miro Muheim (Hamburg/ Switzerland)
Patric Pfeiffer (Darmstadt/ Ghana)
Dawid Kownacki (Fortuna Düsseldorf/ Poland)