Football: Germany's 'Harry Hectic' poised for debut

Football: Germany's 'Harry Hectic' poised for debut
Cologne's defender Jonas Hector and Bayern Munich's Austrian midfielder David Alaba (R) vie for the ball during a match in Cologne on September 27, 2014.

BERLIN - With less than a dozen Bundesliga games to his credit and bearing the nickname 'Harry Hectic', Cologne's Jonas Hector admits feeling unsettled about his Germany debut against Gibraltar on Friday.

The placid 24-year-old left-back is set to make his first appearance for the world champions against minnows Gibraltar in a Euro 2016 qualifier in Nuremberg.

He has earned his ironic nickname in the Cologne side for being the direct opposite of hectic, but the down-to-earth Hector could be the answer to Germany's problem on the left side of their defence.

Having helped Cologne win promotion from Germany's second division last season, Hector admits the speed of his ascent to Joachim Loew's senior squad took him by surprise given his lack of experience in Germany's top flight.

"I was picked after just 11 Bundesliga games and will be surrounded by world champions, that is unbelievable," said Jonas.

"Everyone in the team has been really friendly and I normally sleep well, but I expect to be relatively nervous the night before." His rise to the national side is nothing short of meteoric.

Just two years ago, Hector was playing fourth-division football for his home town club SV Auersmacher and toasted his call-up by Loew with alcohol-free Sekt.

"He has a few things still to learn (when it comes to celebrating)," quipped his Cologne team-mate Matthias Lehmann.

When Hector arrived at the Germany team's hotel in Berlin, he walked straight past the autograph hunters, blissfully unaware his signature was one of those they had been seeking.

"He's a reserved, quiet boy, but we will try to bring him out of himself a bit," said Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski.

Joachim Loew's Germany won the World Cup with centre-back Benedikt Hoewedes deployed on the left flank, but Loew has never really settled on a first-choice left-back and Hector could be the answer Loew has been looking for.

"Jonas found his place in the squad very quickly," said Germany assistant coach Thomas Schneider.

"He has presented himself well and confirmed the promise we have seen in the last few weeks with Cologne in the Bundesliga.

"We chose him amongst others as he is very clever in his defending." Hector has also shown he can take the smooth with the rough having been quickly on his feet despite taking a ball to the face from close range in only his second training session on Wednesday.

"Even as someone from Leverkusen (Cologne's arch-rivals), I have to say he's a good lad," quipped central midfielder Lars Bender.

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