Borussia Dortmund's Niclas Füllkrug set for emotional Werder Bremen return


On Saturday (kick-off: 6.30pm CET), Niclas Füllkrug will return to Werder Bremen's Weserstadion for the first time since his August move to Borussia Dortmund. It will be an emotional evening for the Germany international, who spent 11 years with Bremen, as he meets up with former strike partner Marvin Ducksch and the rest of his ex-teammates.

Füllkrug has not hidden the fact that Dortmund's Matchday 25 fixture is a special one for him. "Werder is obviously a club close to my heart. It will probably be an emotional match," he told Sky Germany in the build-up to the clash.

In Bremen, Füllkrug will look to get one over the side that nurtured him and later helped take his game to another level. The Hannover native came through the club's youth system and even made 23 top-flight appearances before departing for the first time in 2013. After stops at Greuther Fürth, Nuremberg and Hannover, he returned to the four-time Bundesliga champions in 2019 as a seasoned professional.

Watch: All of Füllkrug's goals and assists in 2023/24

The centre-forward improved with each season at his second spell at the club and, during the 2022/23 campaign, he became Bremen's first Bundesliga top goalscorer since Miroslav Klose in 2005/06, netting 16 strikes as he shared the accolade with RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku. At the start of this season, he was still a Bremen player, but made the switch to Die Schwarzgelben before the end of the summer transfer window.

Dortmund's new number nine didn't need long to become a key player for Edin Terzić, quickly replacing the out-of-form Sébastien Haller in the first XI - and he has now started each of the last 20 league matches. Having found the back of the net on 11 occasions, he is Dortmund's leading goalscorer, while only Julian Brandt has been able to match his eight assists. "Fülle" has been particularly prolific in the second half of the campaign, netting a league-high six strikes from Matchday 18 onwards.

Niclas Füllkrug has been in fantastic form this term. - IMAGO/osnapix / Titgemeyer

Füllkrug will look to add to his tally against the club where it all began. He will also be reunited with Ducksch, with whom he struck up a lethal partnership. "It was always a lot of fun to play alongside him. We had a very good understanding and complimented each other well," Ducksch said.

The current Bremen striker will also be facing one of his previous employers in Dortmund - he was born in the city and spent 12 years on their books after joining as an eight-year-old, but he only managed six Bundesliga outings before seeking pastures new. On Saturday, both he and Füllkrug will be eager to deliver the decisive blow.

Marvin Ducksch (l.) and Niclas Füllkrug (r.) struck up a formidable understanding at Werder Bremen. - IMAGO/UWE KRAFT

While both are capable of doing so, you would expect Füllkrug to come out on top. The 31-year-old has continually improved at Signal Iduna Park, and has even come close to matching Erling Haaland's initial Dortmund impact. Only the Norwegian has contributed to more goals in his first 22 games for the club (27) than Füllkrug (19).

Terzić's star striker, though, remains down to earth, saying: "You need to be realistic. Haaland had scored plenty more goals than me at the same point of his Dortmund stay. It's not a comparison that needs to be made. However, I don't believe it's a bad thing."

Füllkrug is not one to get carried away. He is focused on the job at hand and gives his all for the team, which makes him a fan favourite. At the weekend, he will be looking to get amongst the goals once more - even if it will be more emotional than usual...