Niclas Füllkrug took the scenic route before earning his first cap for Germany on the eve of the World Cup.
At the age of 29, the Werder Bremen striker may have thought the day would never come after years of being passed over for the senior team following his last appearance for the Germany Under-20 team in 2014.
Füllkrug, who has played more games in Germany’s second division than in the Bundesliga, was not even considered a candidate for the national team.
But this season, Füllkrug has scored 10 times for Bremen in 14 Bundesliga games, more goals than any other German player, and on Thursday he was rewarded with a phone call from Germany manager Hansi Flick asking him to be part of his team. 26-man World Cup. equipment.
“It was a long journey, and now it’s an even nicer time,” said an emotional Füllkrug after his inclusion was confirmed. “A World Cup is the greatest thing you can experience as a player. But it’s not just an award for me, but for the whole team and the club”.
Füllkrug was referring to Bremen’s successful promotion push last season and the impact of manager Ole Werner, who transformed the team into a fast attacking winger.
Füllkrug, an old-fashioned center forward, was one of the biggest beneficiaries. He had scored just four goals in 13 league appearances before Werner was appointed Bremen manager on November 28 last year. Füllkrug scored one and assisted two more in Werner’s debut and finished the season with 19 goals and eight assists.
This season Füllkrug has continued in the Bundesliga where it left off in the second division. Flick will have noticed his three assists in addition to the goals, and the fact that the tall striker creates chances for teammates with his physical presence in the penalty area.
Füllkrug is likely to make his German debut on Wednesday against Oman in the team’s final warm-up for the World Cup. The four-time champions have little time to adjust before playing Japan, Spain and Costa Rica in Group E.
Füllkrug trained with the team in Muscat, Oman on Tuesday.
“It was fun,” Füllkrug said at his first press conference as a Germany player. “There was a lot of quality on the pitch, especially among the forwards.”
Germany’s other attacking options include Bayern Munich veteran Thomas Müller if he recovers from injury, up-and-coming star Jamal Musiala, Chelsea striker Kai Havertz and Borussia Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi, who has had a difficult season so far.
Leipzig’s Timo Werner’s injury it left a free place for one of two newcomers: Füllkrug or 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko from Dortmund.
Füllkrug isn’t sure what role he will play, but he is ready for anything that is asked of him.
“It’s important that we succeed as a team and how it develops,” said the Bremen striker. “In a tournament like this, I think it can go down paths that you don’t even imagine now. In the end, it is important that everyone plays their part. Let everyone have faith in success, those who play, those who don’t play, and that we have a very positive atmosphere in the team. We’ll see what ends up being my job. But it will definitely come up.”
Füllkrug will have to adjust to a new system after playing with an attacking partner in a 3-5-2 formation in Bremen.
“It will be different here with a striker and basically three attacking midfielders behind him. I will try to fit in however the team needs me,” Füllkrug said.
After waiting years for his first call-up from Germany, now everything seems to be going very fast for the striker.
“I haven’t had a lot of time to think,” he said. “It’s really very, very sudden and that’s not too bad sometimes either. First training today, first game tomorrow. It’s one thing after another.”
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