Bayern’s new midfielder came over along with fellow Hoffenheim teammate Niklas Süle. The German took part in this summer’s Confederation’s Cup and did well. He showed consistency but did not exactly light the tournament on fire. He has only featured 20 times for Die Nationalmannschaft, and never at a major tournament (unless you count the Confederation’s Cup a major tournament).
Slotting into an already crowded Bayern midfield won’t help his chances to go back to Russia. That said, if he can consistently perform coming off the bench and in spot starts then things change.
Having a good season at Bayern could suggest to Löw that Rudy is the kind of player you want on the bench. Do not expect the 27-year-old to see much of the pitch in Russia next year.
However, it is still possible though that a strong year in Munich could see him sneak onto the 23-man squad.
Bernat was arguably Bayern’s best left back last season. With David Alaba struggling with form, the Spaniard looked a reliable option for Ancelotti. Despite all this, Bernat has only featured seven times for his country. His last call up was in 2015.
He scored a goal for Spain in a Euro qualifier back in 2014 but has done little else. There were rumors that he was looking for a reunion with Pep Guardiola in Manchester. Those rumors do not look to be coming true, for now. Like Rudy, Bernat will need to make the most of limited play this year if he hopes to join Spain in Russia. A move away from Bayern would help, but that does not seem very likely at the moment.
If Alaba once again struggles to perform it could open the window for Bernat to shine. Bayern fans are hoping to see a better Alaba in 2017-18, however. If they do the Spanish left back will likely see his chances to make his country’s World Cup squad quickly diminish. In that scenario, Bernat might try to push for another transfer come January, if he does not move this window.
Martinez is probably going to the World Cup, barring any serious injury. It is the manner in which he will participate that could determine his role for Julen Lopetegui.
Bayern has beefed up their defense with the addition of Süle this summer, so that leaves the Spaniard a notch down on the depth chart. Martinez will likely be used for Spain as a defensive midfielder, however.
Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué have the centerback positions locked down. Still, Spain is not shy on midfielders either. Martinez would likely have to contend with Sergio Busquets for that defensive midfield role. If Martinez ends up with a strong season it could force Lopetegui into some tough decisions.
As previously mentioned, it is hard to imagine Martinez not going to Russia, but he is going to need a great season if he wants to be a key contributor for La Roja.
Much like Martinez, Süle is a decent bet to be on his way to Russia. But strong seasons from players like Shkodran Mustafi and Antonio Rüdiger could leave the 21-year-old out in the cold. Süle is a better defender than Mustafi and Rüdiger, but he is much more inexperienced.
With Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng likely taking the starting spots in front of Manuel Neuer, Löw might opt for more experience on the bench. Playing in front of Neuer isn’t like playing in front of other keepers, so experience comes into play here.
That said, a full season with Neuer, Hummels and Boateng should give the young German international plenty of help. If he lives up to his potential then he’s likely on the plane to Russia next year. If he struggles then he might have to wait until 2022. The health of Boateng could also help the young man.
If Boateng struggles to stay healthy and Süle spends much of the season alongside Hummels then we might be getting a preview for Germany’s centerback partnership all winter long.