Sebastian Widmann/Associated Press
For much of his career, Philipp Lahm has been well-known as one of the world's best full-backs. Last season was the best of his career: The Bayern captain was outstanding individually and as a leader as the Bavarians won the treble. But this season, he has played almost exclusively in midfield. And as the World Cup approaches, Low would be wise to consider him in a holding role in a Germany side that has few alternatives.
Sami Khedira will not have played competitive football for half a year heading into the World Cup following surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament. Ilkay Gundogan's return date is still unknown; he's played just a handful of games since last May. Bastian Schweinsteiger has chronic ankle problems and has completed the full 90 minutes in just seven games this season. And although Toni Kroos is having a remarkable campaign, he has often proven a defensive liability for Germany. He's done much better this season with Lahm by his side.
Lahm has no peers at right-back, but that position is somewhat limited in terms of its influence over a game. He may not be the very best central midfielder in the game, but he is world-class in that position. And holding midfield is where Germany need such a level of quality and one that allows him to be a key figure over the course of 90 minutes; it would be almost a waste to see a player of Lahm's quality used as a part-time defender and auxiliary attacker.
Germany have little depth behind Lahm at right-back, with none of Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Howedes and Lars Bender having won Low's favor. This may in part be due to the fact that none of the aforementioned has played right-back at club level for extended periods of time. But Kevin Grosskreutz has, at least this season. And to his credit, the converted midfielder has done quite well.
Grosskreutz is a tireless runner whose technique is underwhelming for an attacking player but acceptable for a defender. He has great pace and a sturdy build; his physical attributes have helped him develop his defensive game to the point that now he is a reliable player for Dortmund. By this point he's worth a try for Germany.