Niclas Füllkrug is the reigning Bundesliga top scorer and has an excellent record for Germany after making his international debut at 29. bundesliga.com profiles the no-nonsense Borussia Dortmund striker who is set for a new adventure following his switch to the Signal Iduna Park.
*Stats correct as of 31 August 2023
Age: 30 (born 9 February 1993)
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: Germany (nine caps/ seven goals)
Füllkrug's latter-day role in the Germany squad was just reward for his goal-fuelled form in the Bundesliga with former club Werder Bremen. The 30-year-old became the first Werder player since Miroslav Klose in 2005/06 to end a season as Bundesliga top scorer, sharing the crown with Christopher Nkunku after 16 strikes apiece in 2022/23. It capped off a memorable campaign for the 6'2" forward, who was earlier named September and October 2022 Player of the Month and went to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Underlining the fact he isn't just a poacher, Füllkrug also ranked third in the Bundesliga for challenges won amongst strikers (369).
Watch: All Niclas Füllkrug's goals in 2022/23
Contrary to popular belief, Füllkrug hasn't emerged from thin air. His 19 goals and eight assists played a crucial role in Werder's promotion back to the Bundesliga in 2020. He also kept hometown club Hannover afloat with a previous career-best single-campaign haul of 14 Bundesliga goals in 2017/18, having previously gained some invaluable experience in Germany's second tier with Nuremberg and Greuther Fürth (a combined 24 goals in 85 games).
Eight goals for the Germany U19s and 20s were further evidence of his innate nose for the back of the opposition net - instinct laid bare against Oman on his senior international debut. Introduced as a half-time substitute, the Werder talisman scored with his second attempt, before being denied his brace by an offside flag. He repeated the trick on his third international appearance, stepping off the bench to secure a point against Group E rivals Spain on World Cup Matchday 2. And lightning struck for a third time in the final group game, netting once again after his introduction against Costa Rica to make it three goals in his first four (all as a sub) caps. He marked his first start with a brace in a March 2023 friendly win over Peru. His international tally now stands at seven goals in nine caps.
Plays a bit like: Mario Gomez
"We actually almost always had someone like him with Miro [Klose], Mario Gomez," the Real Madrid and ex-Germany midfielder said. "I think those are the types of players who can really help you in certain situations, and Hansi [Flick] knows that."
The robust and prolific new Dortmund target man perhaps has more in common with Gomez, who forged a reputation as a classic fox in the box during a playing career that produced over 500 goals for club and country.
Did you know?
There are plenty of older brothers out there who would do anything to avoid their little sister tagging along to meet their buddies - but not Füllkrug.
"I always liked bringing her with me to play football," he revealed as per a report in SportBild. "And when it turned out she was better than some of my mates, I enjoyed it all the more. She has great technique and moves really well."
So well, in fact, that Anna-Lena Füllkrug now plays for the Hannover women's team. Not just that, but at one stage last season she boasted an even better strike rate than her famous brother - known among his teammates as 'Lücke', the German word for 'gap' on account of the the gap in his front teeth - with 13 goals in 11 Frauen Regionalliga games.
What they're saying
"Niclas deserved the goal. He had two or three other shots. You could sense his presence up front as soon as he was on the pitch." - Flick after Füllkrug's Germany debut
"Hansi's not blind. Füllkrug is performing and is the smart choice." - Germany legend Lothar Matthäus
"'Fülle' can be important for the national team, just like he 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 on his former teammate.
"Niclas is a playmaking attacker, very strong with his head, physically impressive, convincing in one-on-one duels and unpleasant for his opponents [to face]. With all these skills, he embodies the profile we were looking for." - BVB Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl on BVB's new signing
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How will Dortmund line up with Füllkrug?
Dortmund have completed the shock signing of last season's top scorer Niclas Füllkrug from Bremen. How will BVB line up with the Germany striker?
Dortmund sign Füllkrug
Borussia Dortmund have signed Germany international striker Niclas Füllkrug on a three-year deal from Werder Bremen.