The Werder Bremen captain has been in sensational form for a while, lifting Bremen back into contention for a Europa League spot. DW's Jonathan Harding believes he deserves a Germany call up, but fears he won't get one.
Germany don't have a striker. With Timo Werner proving himself to be more effective out wide, and Marco Reus and Serge Gnabry best playing off another forward, Max Kruse is the answer for Germany. In truth, he has been for a while.
Kruse possesses the perfect skill set for the role of a striker in this Germany team. Quick enough, Kruse is smart, reads the game fantastically, has a brilliant touch and consistently shows excellent composure in front of goal. He can lead a line without neglecting the interplay needed to play up top. Joachim Löw's "new Germany" would only benefit from a player of this kind of quality.
But Joachim Löw won't select him. Blinded by his persistence to pursue a new Germany, Löw's inability to forget the past and recognize the quality of the present is a problem - particularly in a position where Germany are short of talent.
Kruse, who turns 31 soon, has 14 Germany caps but hasn't been near the squad since 2015 due to a number of questionable decisions made off the field. There's no denying Kruse has made mistakes, but Werder Bremen have given Kruse the support and trust he needs to flourish, both on and off the pitch. Why can't Germany follow suit? Are second chances only reserved for Löw himself?
The issue doesn't stop at Kruse either. Emre Can has been superb for Juventus of late but was not included in the recent squad. Is Joshua Kimmich in midfield really a better option? Were it not for Mario Götze's recent rib injury, would the Dortmund man's return to form have been rewarded? Löw's plan to create a new Germany is a good one, as selecting Kruse's teammate Maximilian Eggestein shows, but there needs to be some wiggle room in the application of the idea.
At 24, Davie Selke certainly has a chance of becoming that striker for Germany in the years to come - if he can stay fit for long enough. Maybe even Kevin Volland can return. But Kruse can make the difference now. With the striker's contract up this summer we might end up seeing Kruse make a difference somewhere other than Bremen, but sadly it looks like Kruse won't ever get to work his magic in a Germany shirt again. And that just seems a terrible waste.