Who is Niclas Fullkrug? Things to know about Germany's target man

Niclas Fullkrug crashed home Germany’s equaliser against Spain | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Costa Rica’s stunning defeat of German slayers Japan on Sunday morning handed Hansi Flick’s side a lifeline heading into their Group E encounter with Luis Enrique’s Spain.

The Spaniards had universally impressed on Matchday 1, and they took the lead against Germany on Sunday night through substitute Alvaro Morata. Despite a stellar performance without the ball to subdue Enrique’s free-flowing La Roja, fatigue meant Germany couldn’t press with the same vigour as the contest wore on and they quickly paid the price.

Niclas Fullkrug was among those Flick turned to to turn the tide and it was the late-blooming Werder Bremen forward who salvaged a point for the Germans. Fullkrug’s 83rd-minute strike beyond Unai Simon was as emphatic as they come, and should Germany advance into the knockout phase of the 2022 World Cup, the 29-year-old may well play a prominent role considering Flick’s forward options.

Here’s everything you need to know about Germany’s unlikely saviour.

Niclas Fullkrug’s career so far

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

Niclas Fullkrug’s rise has been rapid, but he’s been lingering around the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 for a decade.

Fullkrug represented Germany’s Under-18s and Under-20s after shining for Werder Bremen’s youth teams. However, he struggled to make the step up to the senior side and the striker moved onto FC Nurnberg for a meagre €300,000 fee in 2014. His second season there was pretty prolific as he scored 14 times in 30 Bundesliga 2 appearances

Fullkrug’s impressive 2015/16 season saw him earn a move to hometown club Hannover 96 and, once again, he enjoyed a productive second season – this time scoring 14 goals in the Bundesliga. Injuries compromised his 2018/19 campaign and he subsequently returned to Werder Bremen in 2019.

His return to Bremen wasn’t overly prosperous to begin with, however, as injuries – including a cruciate ligament rupture – continued to take their toll. Werder were relegated in 2020/21 before the appointment of Ole Werner in November 2021 reinvigorated the seemingly declining target man.

The striker fired home 19 Bundesliga 2 goals last season to help Die Werderaner immediately return to the top-flight and his form this season convinced Flick to pick him in his 26-man World Cup squad. Fullkrug’s scored ten times in 14 Bundesliga games, the best strike rate of any German this season.

Niclas Fullkrug’s strengths

Standing at an imposing 6’2, Fullkrug typically functions as the focal point for Werder and thus, his strengths align with those of your archetypal target man.

The German forward is excellent in the air and adept at bringing the ball down before bringing others into play. His skill set has seen him develop a telepathic rapport with strike partner Marvin Ducksch at Werder Bremen, with the two forwards complementing each other nicely. The duo call themselves the ‘Ugly Ducklings’.

Fullkrug has been superb at putting himself in positions to score this season – only Marcus Thuram has registered more shots in the Bundesliga – and all but one of his ten league goals have arrived in the penalty box. He’s an efficient poacher, with his highlight reel littered with emphatic headed finishes and assured spot-kicks.

The 29-year-old’s cracking finish against Spain also demonstrated his fierce ball-striking ability.

Niclas Fullkrug’s weaknesses

Fullkrug hasn’t always been this prolific and there’s no doubt that he is limited. The striker struggles to score different types of goals, while injuries mean he isn’t the most athletic.

Moreover, we noted that the striker was a willing linker of play, but the numbers from FBRef depict Fullkrug to be an inefficient connector. His 61.4% pass completion ranks in the 14th percentile of all strikers from Europe’s top-five leagues over the past year.

Some refinement to his hold-up play wouldn’t go amiss as he reaches his peak and twilight years.

Niclas Fullkrug’s best position

Fullkrug dabbled in a bit of wing play when he was a bit younger, but it’s become abundantly clear what sort of forward he’s matured into.

The 29-year-old is a throwback centre-forward who’s cut from the same cloth as some of his German predecessors. Think Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, etc, etc. A proper target man.

While Fullkrug is capable of leading the line by himself, much of his recent good work at Werder has come when playing alongside a strike partner.

Niclas Fullkrug’s comparisons

Comparisons to the aforementioned Klose and Gomez initially sprung from the mouth of retired Germany international Toni Kroos.

The Real Madrid midfielder said ahead of the World Cup: “We [Germany] actually almost always had someone like him with Miro [Klose], Mario Gomez. I think those are the types of players who can really help you in certain situations, and Hansi [Flick] knows that.”


Look: Basketball World Reacts To Wild Upset

Michael Chang/Getty Images This year’s college basketball season continues to be one of the most unpredictable seasons in recent memory. On Saturday afternoon, No. 2 Alabama fell to the unranked Oklahoma Sooners by 24 points. The Crimson Tide gave up 93 points en route to a 93-69 loss in ...

View more: Look: Basketball World Reacts To Wild Upset

Guitarist Tom Verlaine, co-founder of Television, dies at 73

NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Verlaine, guitarist and co-founder of the seminal proto-punk band Television who influenced many bands while playing at ultra-cool downtown New York music venue CBGB alongside the Ramones, Patti Smith and Talking Heads, has died. He was 73. He died Saturday in New York City, surrounded ...

View more: Guitarist Tom Verlaine, co-founder of Television, dies at 73

45 Comfy, Cheap Outfits From Amazon That Look Actually Expensive

45 Comfy, Cheap Outfits From Amazon That Look Actually Expensive Ever find a piece of clothing that you really like, but don’t bother checking the price tag because you know it’s probably way out of budget? We’ve all been there. That’s why I love finding wallet-friendly wardrobe pieces on ...

View more: 45 Comfy, Cheap Outfits From Amazon That Look Actually Expensive

Former Sparks star Candace Parker signing with the Las Vegas Aces

LAS VEGAS —  Former MVP Candace Parker announced on social media Saturday that she would sign with the defending champion Las Vegas Aces. Parker spent the past two seasons playing for her hometown Sky, leading Chicago to the WNBA championship in 2021. She posted on Instagram that Chicago would always be ...

View more: Former Sparks star Candace Parker signing with the Las Vegas Aces

USMNT Announces Starting Lineup for Friendly Vs. Colombia

Kellyn Acosta captains the side for the first time

View more: USMNT Announces Starting Lineup for Friendly Vs. Colombia

Rick Astley Sues Rapper Yung Gravy for ‘Vocal Imitation' of Hit ‘Never Gonna Give You Up'

Yung Gravy released his song "Betty (Get Money)" in June 2022

View more: Rick Astley Sues Rapper Yung Gravy for ‘Vocal Imitation' of Hit ‘Never Gonna Give You Up'

Candace Parker Announces She Will Sign With Aces

The WNBA legend joins the defending league champions and two-time MVP A’ja Wilson. One of the greatest players in WNBA history is headed west once again. Forward Candace Parker will sign with the Aces, she announced on her Instagram Saturday afternoon. The announcement came at the end of a ...

View more: Candace Parker Announces She Will Sign With Aces

5,000-year-old ‘tavern’ discovered on archeological dig

Archeologists unearthed a 5,000-year-old “tavern” in one of southwest Asia’s earliest cities. A team of researchers studying the archeological site of Lagash in southern Iraq uncovered the public eating space, which dates back to 2700 B.C., according to the University of Pennsylvania. The area was replete with benches, a type ...

View more: 5,000-year-old ‘tavern’ discovered on archeological dig

Draymond Green Reacts to Joel Embiid vs. Nikola Jokic Battle

Russian troops shell Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with heavy artillery.

10 Weirdest Engines Used By Mainstream Carmakers

Stephen A. Smith sounds off on Tyre Nichols footage, demands ‘1st-degree murder changes’ be made

BREAKING: UGA Lands World Class Speed in Latest Commit

How Long Does Marriage Counseling Take To Have An Affect?

This Living Room Seating Trend Will Be Big In 2023

Kanye West Under Investigation For Robbery After Grabbing Woman’s Phone As She Films Him: Watch

Several Potential WWE Royal Rumble Entrants Backstage In San Antonio

California relief checks: Who has to file taxes to get the stimulus checks?

A Mom Making 'Iced Coffee' For Her & Her Baby Accidentally Shares A Valuable Lesson People Wish Their Parents Knew

Virtual employees on the rise in China, should Americans be worried?