He may have been playing second fiddle to Jonas Hector since making his Germany debut last June, but Hertha Berlin left-back Marvin Plattenhardt could yet be Joachim Löw’s first-choice in Russia this summer.
Plattenhardt now has six international caps to his name, though Cologne left-back Hector – who recently won the Bundesliga Goal of the Season for 2017/18 – has racked up 10 over the same period. Plattenhardt remains confident that he is not going to the World Cup to sit on the bench, though.
“If you believe what you hear and read, then Hector is set in stone and I’m his backup,” the 26-year-old told Sport Bild. “But I’ll show everything in training so my teammates know they can rely on me. Of course I want to play. It wouldn’t be nice to head home not having played.”
If Plattenhardt is more privy to Löw’s plans than the rest of us it wouldn’t be for the first time. Many had speculated that Plattenhardt would be one of the four players cut from Germany’s provisional 27-man squad – instead it was Leroy Sane, Bernd Leno, Jonathan Tah and Nils Petersen who made way – but the former Nürnberg man found such suggestions laughable.
“Before the announcement, I watched a bit of TV,” he continued. “Many speculated that I’d left the hotel and was already on my way home. I had to smile. I already knew I was going. I bumped into [Löw] by accident in the morning. He’d already shared the good news with me!”
Plattenhardt, who scored three free-kicks in 2016/17, improved his build-up play last season, chipping in with a team-high seven assists as Hertha finished in 10th, 10 points clear of the relegation quagmire. Whether he displaces Hector or not, he is in confident mood.
Watch: Marvin Plattenhardt, a free-kick master!
“I slept like a baby,” Plattenhardt said of the first night after learning of his selection. “I was relaxed. Such decisions are made, at the end, by the coach. My big dream has finally come true.”