FEATURE | Niclas Füllkrug – From 2. Bundesliga to World Cup goalscorer

Niclas Füllkrug was the man of the hour for Germany as he scored the goal that got Germany back in the game as they drew 1-1 with Spain. His equaliser leaves Germany with a chance of qualifying out of their group as they play Costa Rica in the final group game on Thursday.

Last season Füllkrug was part of Werder Bremen’s duo of him and Marvin Ducksch that scored 40 goals between them as Bremen won promotion to the top flight. A graduate of Bremen’s academy, Füllkrug moved to Nürnberg in 2014 and Hannover 96 before once again returning to Bremen in 2019. After struggling to handle the Bundesliga the first time around, he has hit the ground running this season. The man known as “Lücke”, referring to the gap in his teeth, is the top scoring German in the Bundesliga this season with 10 goals in 14 games, joint second with French forward Marcus Thuram of Borussia Monchengladbach.

Füllkrug last played for a national team in 2012 when he played for the Germany’s U20 team. It wasn’t until his form this season that he started to be mentioned at possibly being called up to the senior national team. The 29-year-old is a classic number nine which is a player Germany have lacked since the Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez both retired, and with Kai Havertz and Timo Werner both being rather ineffective when used up front for Germany. This further prompted calls suggesting that Füllkrug is worthy of a place in the squad.

Several injuries to key players in the build up to the World Cup in Werner and Marco Reus, as well as the extension of the World Cup squads to 26, made the prospect of Füllkrug getting called up even more likely. Füllkrug continued his scoring run and earned the call up to Qatar. He scored the only goal in a friendly against Oman, his Germany debut, in the run up to the World Cup. 

His goal against Spain not only signals why Füllkrug may be key for Germany in their final group game against Costa Rica, it also completes Füllkrug’s rise from a second division striker to now scoring at the World Cup to rescue Germany. 

GGFN | Jack Meenan 

 

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