Can Philipp Max be the surprise inclusion in Germany's World Cup squad next year?
Philipp Max has been one of the most impressive players in the Bundesliga this season. He may not be a defensive phenom like Marcelo or Alex Sandro. He may not be the future of German football like Jonathan Tah or Niklas Sule. However, with sheer determination and focus, Augsburg's Philipp Max has made a prime impression in German top flight this season, which could potentially make a huge difference in his career in the nigh future.
But is he worth all the fuss?
The German defender has been an important part of Augsburg's impressive season in the Bundesliga this term. After 15 matches, the Bavarians currently stand seventh in the league table, trailing second-placed RB Leipzig by just four points, which is quite an achievement for a club, who were largely expected to get relegated at the start of the season.
Counter-attacking proficiency is mainly what led to their amazing performances this campaign, with striker Alfred Finnbogasson, Michael Gregoritsch and left back Philipp Max being at the forefront of that counter-attacking philosophy.
Gregoritsch and Finnbogasson have combined for 15 of Augsburg's 22 goals this term, but it has been mainly Philipp Max, who has created the bulk of their chances.
Astonishingly, the 24-year-old has created a remarkable 39 chances in the league, almost the double of what Finnbogasson, the club's second best chance creator, has managed this season.
In fact, he has been the most creative defender in the league this term, with Schalke newcomer Bastian Oczipka following up with a tally of 38 created chances.
It's probably safe to suggest that the former Schalke youth player has grown in stature as one of the leading fullbacks in the German Bundesliga. But can he be a serious contender for Germany's world cup squad next year?
In the 2014 World Cup, Erik Durm and Christoph Kramer were the surprise inclusions in Germany's 23 man squad. Can Philipp be that surprise inclusion we are all enticed about?
Jonas Hector is regarded as Germany's number one left back right now. However, considering the fact that the defender has been ruled out for the rest of the year could potentially make a huge dent in his chances of making the World Cup squad next year. Even though he's expected to back in action for the second half of the season, it would hard for him to help his team, Cologne, recover from their woeful season.
In his stead, Hertha's Marvin Plattenhardt has deputized the Cologne defender as Germany's first choice left back. This could potentially lead to a tough choice for Germany head coach Joachim Loew at the end.
Regardless, Philipp Max has shown signs that he could emerge as the perfect left back Germany were vying for such a long time. Gifted with pace and creativity, the Augsburg defender is perfectly suited for the tactical philosophy of Joachim Loew.
Although he may not be the greatest of defenders, when push comes to shove, the 24-year-old has undergone tremendous within these past 12 months and therefore, he can always improve on his defensive capabilities. He has already racked up some decent defensive numbers in the Bundesliga this season, averaging over 2 clearances and 1.6 interceptions per game. He also has a tackle win ratio of 45%, which is, by no meant a bad tally for a fullback.
Overall, with no exposure of International football or Champions League, it's safe to say that Philipp Max is definitely not ready to be included in Germany's World Cup next season. That being said, however, should the defender continue his impressive rise in the Bundesliga for the entirety of the season, he could possibly be considered for the national team in nigh future. But either way, he's one of the players to look forward to in the pool of exciting Bundesliga players.