Niclas Füllkrug, Thomas Müller or Deniz Undav (from l.)? Julian Nagelsmann has a decision to make over who leads the line for Germany at this year's European Championship. - © IMAGO/Jerry Andre
Niclas Füllkrug, Thomas Müller or Deniz Undav (from l.)? Julian Nagelsmann has a decision to make over who leads the line for Germany at this year's European Championship. - © IMAGO/Jerry Andre

Niclas Füllkrug, Deniz Undav and Germany's options at No.9 ahead of UEFA Euro 2024


Who will be Germany's centre-forward at UEFA Euro 2024 next summer? Niclas Füllkrug is in pole position to lead the line, but Julian Nagelsmann has other options at number 9 - takes a look at the men in the running to make the tournament host's squad...

Find out more about Euro 2024 in Germany here!

Data correct as of 4 June 2024

Niclas Füllkrug (Borussia Dortmund)
Caps/ Goals: 15/ 11

With his missing tooth, bantamweight boxer build, and more bustle than New York's Fifth Avenue on Christmas Eve, Füllkrug is an old-school centre-forward. It is fair to say the Borussia Dortmund man is not cut from the same refined cloth as Gerd Müller and Miroslav Klose.

But his ability to lead the line and batter opposing defenders into a dazed state that gives Germany's brilliant support strikers - Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, Florian Wirtz et al - the space in which to weave their magic makes him invaluable for club and country right now.

"Niclas is desperate to play for Borussia Dortmund," said BVB's sporting director Sebastian Kehl, before explaining exactly what Nagelsmann and so many other coaches see in him. "We're delighted to have such a positive guy, who will give absolutely everything for our club."

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

And he offers so much more than just bulldozing opponents into submission.

A rich seam of goalscoring form has come late to Füllkrug, who turned 31 in February, but his 12 goals and eight assists for Dortmund in 2023/24 is a decent return, having joined the club in summer 2023 after finishing the Bundesliga's joint-top scorer in 2022/23. His current international strike rate is even more impressive.

In fact, it's way more than impressive, and he's showing exactly why Hansi Flick gave him his debut in November 2022, just three months shy of his 30th birthday, making him the oldest Germany debutant in 20 years. He then played at the World Cup in Qatar, noting emotionally - and factually - that "it has been a long road" to get to the top. In fact, he might still be going up.

Füllkrug scored twice in three appearances as Hansi Flick's Germany exited the 2022 World Cup at the group stage. - Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich)
Caps/goals: 129/45

A 2014 FIFA World Cup winner, Müller is a legend. That iconic mantle is usually reserved for players that are ageing or even retired. Müller is the former at 34, and will surely soon be the latter. But Nagelsmann will have to size up how important the weight of the Bayern man's 14 years in a Germany shirt is when it comes to picking his team, and perhaps Müller is just the wise old head the national team needs leading the line.

Watch: Müller's best moments from 2023/24

Despite his wiry build, he has the physique and the wiles to hold up the ball as well as hold off all but the most muscular of centre-backs, while does anyone need proof of his ability to bring teammates into play? You do? OK, he's got 40 assists to go with his 45 international goals. That's 85 goal involvements at the very highest level in over 120 games. That's a goal involvement in every game-and-a-half for Germany with the fourth-most caps of all time for one of the game's most dominant nations. Happy now? Thought so.

He and Nagelsmann do have a certain history following their time at Bayern when Nagelsmann seemed to suggest that, despite making Müller captain in the absence of Manuel Neuer, his time on the pitch should be limited, dragging him off early in a number of games, painfully pricking his veteran forward's competitive pride. Thomas Tuchel appeared to share his predecessor's view, naming Müller only intermittently in the starting line-up. That said, Nagelsmann will surely want to make use of Müller's wits, especially as he has the advantage of being able to play as a second striker too.

Watch: Thomas Müller - the unrivalled Raumdeuter

Deniz Undav (VfB Stuttgart)
Caps/Goals: 2/0

Another late starter in the goalscoring stakes. Or was he simply never really given a chance to show what he could do at the highest level? Undav will turn 28 in July after what was a sensational maiden Bundesliga season. Prolific in the lower reaches of German football, it was a free transfer to Belgium and Union Saint-Gilloise in summer 2020 that kickstarted his career.

His 17 goals in 26 second-tier outings were a major reason his team won promotion in his very first season, and he then netted 25 in just 33 for the first team in the top flight the next campaign. Little wonder Premier League side Brighton got interested then.

He struck just five times in 22 top-flight appearances in England in 2022/23, though his goals-to-minutes ratio of finding the net every 123 minutes on the pitch suggests what he is capable of. In fact, only five players in Premier League history have ever scored five goals in less time on the pitch than Undav.

Sebastian Hoeneß unlocked that potential spectacularly at Stuttgart: the forward finished fourth in the Bundesliga scoring chart in 2023/24 with 18 goals in 30 appearances. If he can replicate that kind of form on the international stage, it could be a very fruitful summer for the tournament hosts.

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

Kai Havertz (Arsenal)
Caps/goals: 45/15

What role might Havertz have to play? During his breakthrough years at Leverkusen he was devastatingly effective as a playmaker in attacking midfield, but that position has already been filled by Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, with Müller also highly effective there.

At Chelsea and Arsenal, the 24-year-old has often been deployed further forward, and his return of 13 goals in 37 Premier League appearances in 2023/24 is respectable. Tall, quick and with a keen eye for a killer pass, there's a lot to like about Havertz, so much will likely depend on the opposition and any weaknesses Nagelsmann thinks he would be best able to exploit.

Watch: The best of Havertz in the Bundesliga

Maximilian Beier

A wild card to make the final squad, with Nagelsmann still needing to omit one player from his current roster before the final tournament, Hoffenheim's leading marksman in 2023/24 is doing all he can to make sure he is not the one to be axed. 

The 21-year-old was handed his senior debut in Germany's 0-0 draw with Ukraine in a pre-tournament friendly and was a livewire after coming off the bench in the second half, even hitting the woodwork. So impressive was he, in fact, that Nagelsmann signled him out for praise at the final whistle.

"Maxi got stuck in well and had a good game," said the tactician. "He handled everything well and worked hard defensively. He had three good chances. As it stands now, no one deserves to go home. He's made it more likely that he will stay."

With 16 Bundesliga goals in 2023/24, Beier is certainly in form, and his lack of inhibition, as well as his pace and finishing ability, give him an edge that the others on this list do not have. 

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

Find out how Julian Nagelsmann's Germany could line up at Euro 2024!