Niclas Füllkrug: Who is the striker for Werder Bremen and Germany?
Niclas Füllkrug scored a debut goal for Germany on the eve of their 2022 World Cup campaign. bundesliga.com profiles the no-frills Werder Bremen striker who could be Hansi Flick’s biggest asset in the final…
Club: Werder Bremen
Country: Germany (one selection / one goal)
Füllkrug’s call-up to Germany’s World Cup squad is just the reward for his goal-filled form in the Bundesliga. The 29-year-old is traveling to Qatar as a Germany’s top scorer in the Bundesliga with 10 goals in 14 games for the promoted Bremen, as well as two assists. This puts it second to Christopher Nkunku for final product (RB Leipzig’s talisman has 12 goals), while only his Borussia Mönchengladbach counterpart Marcus Thuram ranks higher for penalties (55 versus 46). The 6’2″ before, who was named October Player of the Monthis also among the top four players in the league for challenges won (76).
Look: All of Niclas Füllkrug’s goals so far in 2022/23
Contrary to popular belief, Füllkrug did not come out of nowhere. His 19 goals and 8 assists played a crucial role in promoting Werder to the Bundesliga last season. He also kept his hometown club Hannover afloat with a career top scorer with 14 Bundesliga goals in 2017/18having previously gained invaluable experience in the German second tier with Nuremberg and Greuther Fürth (a combination 24 goals in 85 games).
Eight goals for Germany U19 and 20 are further evidence of his innate nose for the back of the opposition net – instinct laid bare against Oman on his senior international debut. Presented as a half-time substitute, Werder’s talisman scored with his second attemptbefore being denied his double by an offside flag.
Plays like: Mario Gomez
Toni Kroos has spoken about some of the similarities Füllkrug shares with former Germany strikers Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez in the build-up to the World Cup.
“In fact, we almost always had someone like him with Miro [Klose]Mario Gomez,” the Germany and Real Madrid midfielder said. “I think those are the types of players who can really help you in certain situations, and Hansi [Flick] knows that.”
Werder’s hardy and prolific target man may have more in common with Gomez, who forged a reputation as a classic fox in the box during a playing career that produced more than 500 goals for the club and the country.
Did you know?
Füllkrug’s nickname is ‘Lucke‘, the German word for ‘gap’, in reference to the gap between his front teeth. He’s also half of Bremen’s ‘Ugly Ducklings’ – a tongue-in-cheek nickname he coined together with his striker partner Marvin Ducksch.
Maybe someone should put ‘resplendent swan’ on it. That certainly suits his most recent numbers in front of goal.
What they say
“Niclas deserved the goal. He had two or three more shots. You could feel his presence in attack as soon as he was on the pitch.” – Film after Füllkrug’s debut in Germany
Füllkrug scored in the 80th minute of Germany’s World Cup preparation with Oman, having replaced Youssoufa Moukoko at half-time. – Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
“Hansi is not blind. Füllkrug performs well and is the smart choice.” – German legend Lothar Matthäus
“‘Fülle’ can be important for the national team, just as it is for us. There are outstanding technical players [ahead of him]but if you want to play with a classic nine, I don’t think there’s anyone better.” – Bremen defender Niklas Stark