Tomorrow marks the Germany national team’s last fixture of the calendar year as they take on France in Cologne. FC Bayern Munich’s 27-year-old midfielder, Sebastian Rudy, speaks to DFB about seeking revenge on the European Championship semi-final in 2016, the quality of the opposition Germany will face and the competitions for places within the Germany squad for a place in the World Cup squad.
Question: Sebastian Rudy, the Germany national team are undefeated since losing in the 2016 European Championship against France in Marseille. Is there a sense of seeking revenge in the mood of the Germany camp?
Sebastian Rudy: Not as of yet. The game in Cologne is on a different level to the one in 2016 but we’re looking forward to it nonetheless. It’s great to finish the year by facing such a quality opponent. France have some exceptionally good players. I rate them a little bit higher than England and we’ll need to brace ourselves for a physical battle. No matter what we’ll prepare well and want to win.
Question: Do you have an idea as to whether you’ll be in the starting XI?
Rudy: I have no idea but we’ll see after training later. You can’t forget how everyone in the squad is performing extremely well at their individual clubs. It’s good that we all get a go in these sorts of games.
Question: France have momentum behind them at the moment. Do you have a plan as to how to control their momentum?
Rudy: Of course it’s not easy. The head coach will give us a game plan and we’ll try and execute it as best we can.
Question: And how are you going to stop PSG’s wonderkid, Kylian Mbappé?
Rudy: We aren’t going to revolve our game plan around him but instead we’ll show how we cope with France’s attack as a defensive unit.
Question: How important is the fact that Germany haven’t been beaten this calendar year?
Rudy: It’d be great to keep this stretch up with just one game to go but it’ll be a tough game and France will give it their all.
Question: The squad at the moment contains a mixture of World Cup winners, Confederations Cup victors and players such as Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sané and Marcel Halstenberg who are yet to win an international title. Do you think the team is growing month by month?
Rudy: We have a lot of quality players and the competition for places helps us all improve. We all want to get better and everyone wants to play. Training is always taken seriously and the hunger and desire is there for all to see. We all push each other as a team to put in the best performances we can. We get on well as a squad on and off the pitch.
Question: Jerome Boateng had to leave the squad and Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller are both not with the squad at the moment. How important is it for players to look after themselves in this intensive part of the season?
Rudy: Everyone knows their own body best and knows how far they can realistically push themselves. On Saturday, we had a day off in London and went on a speedboat down the Thames. I never knew how fast a boat could go! We had great fun and the day off did the team a world of good.
Question: After the England game, the head coach said the team need to be stronger in the next game. What have you seen of that as of yet?
Rudy: I always try to play as well as I can. I’m not one to steal the limelight but I will always try my best for the team. At Bayern, I train with the very best professional players in the world and I hope that will enable me to improve as a player.