HANSI FLICK’S decision to select surprise package Niclas Fullkrug paid dividends as he rescued Germany’s World Cup hopes.
Fullkrug only made his senior debut aged 29 earlier this month and scored the only goal in an uninspiring 1-0 friendly win in Oman ahead of the tournament.
Now he is the toast of the nation after he came off the bench to rifle home against Spain to keep Germany’s qualification hopes alive with a 1-1 draw.
Fullkrug plays for mid-table Bundesliga team Werder Bremen and is the first player from that team to play at the World Cup in 12 years -the last being midfielder Torsten Frings.
The striker played in the German second division last season, helping Bremen bounce back to the Bundesliga after relegation in 2020-21.
Fullkrug also has experience playing in the second-tier from spells with FC Nurnburg and Greuther Furth.
He earned a shock call up to the Germany squad after scoring ten goals for his team this season and is considered an old-fashioned number nine.
Fullkrug played at youth level for Die Mannschaft but had never before played for the senior team until his shock World Cup call-up.
Now he is a national hero after his devastating finish against La Roja.
Germany knew that defeat to Spain would leave them needing a miracle to make the knockouts in their final group hame.
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That was after they were upset by Japan in their opener, a match Fullkrug came on for but was unable to make a difference.
But he made the difference tonight and now he will be chomping at the bit for a start on Thursday.
Victory over Costa Rica is now highly likely to see the Mannschaft advance into the last sixteen