DFB.de regularly introduces a first team player, who is facing a special weekend. Today: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s Sebastian Rudy, who will take on table toppers and defending champions FC Bayern München in the Bundesliga’s top game on Saturday (15:30 CET).
Sebastian Rudy has played in the Champions League since he was a kid - in his parent’s backyard, preparing for greater things to come. “We always had a football goal in our yard and that’s where Sebastian played in the Champions League,” remembers his father Claude Rudy. When the dream actually became reality, his son stepped up to the plate and scored a goal in just his second appearance: He scored the opener in VfB Stuttgart’s 2-0 victory against Glasgow Rangers at the legendary Ibrox Park in 2009. “He told me that he thought back to the time when he was playing in the yard,” says Claude Rudy. “For me, it’s a wonderful example of how sometimes dreams can come true.”
Sebastian Rudy, who will take on Bundesliga record champions FC Bayern München on Saturday (15:30 CET) in the league’s top game, is living his dream being a football professional and Germany international and it’s also his father’s dream. Claude Rudy once played alongside Jürgen Klinsmann in a selection of players from Württemberg. However, he did not go on to play at a higher level.
Today, Claude Rudy, whose primary occupation is the Director of Operations at a German financial consulting agency, advises his sons in their careers. Together with European Champion Karlheinz Förster, he is currently managing his sons Sebastian and Florian, who is one year older than Sebastian and used to play for Unterhaching in Germany’s third league but is currently out of contract. “Football is the major topic of discussion at the dinner table,” explains Claude Rudy.
The financial consultant will certainly have explained to his son that resting on his laurels was not a good idea and that he would face more obstacles during his career. A position change for example. Rudy has successfully completed the transition from a defensive midfielder to a proper right-back.
Germany manager Joachim Löw had the idea when there was a shortage of right-backs. Hoffenheim’s manager Markus Gisdol followed suit but without having a shortage of full backs. Rudy has played at right-back for Hoffenheim since Bundesliga matchday 4, but not always flawlessly. He was only a substitute during Hoffenheim’s 3-4 defeat to 1. FC Köln on matchday 11- a game in which Hoffenheim’s defence did anything but shine.
On the other hand, Rudy’s performance against Spain on Tuesday evening was a very convincing one. Solid at the back, he also got involved up front. Rudy helped the DFB-Team finish 2014 with a 1-0 victory against the European Champions. The game deciding goal was scored by Toni Kroos, who won the Fritz-Walter-Medal as the best Young Player in 2008, together with Rudy – Kroos got gold and Rudy got silver. Together, they managed to finish third at the 2007 U17 World Cup in South Korea.
Rudy has played in every DFB youth team since the U17’s. Before the World Cup, he made his first team debut in Hamburg against Poland. As Jogi’s men were winning the World Cup in Brazil, Rudy was in Jamaica enjoying his honeymoon following the marriage to his long-term girlfriend Elena. After the World Cup, Rudy made an appearance in Germany’s friendly with Argentina, coming on for Toni Kroos.
Rudy is a team player, which is appreciated by Löw - a player who selflessly sacrifices himself in the service of his team, a player who plays where he is needed, a model student. “I’m a midfielder and of course I enjoy playing in midfield like against FSV Frankfurt in the Cup,” said Rudy. “But I do whatever the manager asks of me.”
An attitude that is not only appreciated by Löw but also by Rudy’s club manager Gisdol, who had already coached the now 24-year-old as a youth player in Stuttgart. Stuttgart’s first team manager Markus Babbel was the first person to give Rudy a chance to play professionally. A year later, Rudy joined Hoffenheim, where his first manager was Babbel and his current manager is now Gisdol, who has made Hoffenheim a consistent Bundesliga side.
Not only by reinforcing his defence. Rudy’s position change has made an impact and Hoffenheim even have the Champions League in sight. Third placed Borussia Mönchengladbach are just three points adrift. Fortunately, Sebastian Rudy is prepared.