For many Germany fans, the inclusion of Niclas Füllkrug into the starting XI for Hansi Flick seems like a foregone conclusion.
For Bayern Munich and German national team legend Philipp Lahm, however, Füllkrug should stay on the bench.
“I still wouldn’t start him because I think we have other players who are better and more talented. In addition, he’s an absolute weapon when you bring him on towards the end of the game,” Lahm told RND (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “He’s on a run — at the club and now also with the national team. He’s an option when you need goals and need to turn the game around.”
Füllkrug, who has been great for Werder Bremen this season in the Bundesliga, is, indeed, on a run. In fact, it was his goal against Oman that prevented pre-tournament embarrassment and his tally against Spain kept Germany’s hope to advance out of the group stage alive.
Even in limited time, you could argue that Füllkrug has been Germany’s most impactful player. Lahm, however, is content to let it ride without including the former Hannover 96 star in the mix. It seems as if Lahm thinks Germany should be able to defeat Costa Rica with — or without — a true No. 9 in the lineup.
“Without wanting to belittle the opponent, a win in the last game against Costa Rica is of course a must. We have to look at ourselves and win by as many goals as possible against Costa Rica,” Lahm said.
The question remains, though: Can Germany have any bite in its attack without Füllkrug at this stage? Imagine thinking that 12 months ago...but now, it is a legitimate issue.
For me, Füllkrug has to start and present a dangerous option at the striker spot. Thomas Müller is either uncomfortable at the position or not 100% healthy because his normal hefty impact has been invisible. When combined with lackluster showings from Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz, plus some up-and-down play from Jamal Musiala at times, Flick has to know that both Füllkrug and Leroy Sané need to be starters against Costa Rica for the team to have its best chance to win.
Do you feel the same? Tell us in the poll below.
Who should start at striker for Germany against Costa Rica?
This poll is closed
Bayern getting closer to making Kane acquisition a reality?
According to Sport1 journalist Florian Plettenberg (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), who has been extremely dialed into Bayern Munich’s wheelings and dealings, the Rekordmeister is still hot in pursuit of Tottenham Hotspur and England star Harry Kane:
Harry Kane remains Bayern’s desired signing for the summer. The club is neither confirming nor denying the interest in public, the bosses are trying to lay the ground for the transfer in the background.
A move will be more complicated than Mané’s transfer, for example. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is considered a tough negotiator and the player would cost €80-100m. It’s very difficult, but Bayern are working on it.
Harry Kane is open for a move. He can well imagine it.
Despite that report from Plettenberg, Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn — also speaking to Plettenberg — continues to be non-committal.
“Of course, he’s a very good player, but there are also many other very good players. I’ve read that everywhere — Oliver Kahn and Harry Kane, (sporting director) Hasan (Salihamidžić) and Harry Kane,” Kahn said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “We’re considering many, many players and it’s not okay to talk about players who are under contract at other clubs. Once again: We have a very good squad that is doing an excellent job at the moment.”
Song of the Midweek: “Can’t Even Tell” by Soul Asylum
Ah...Soul Asylum. A truly underrated 90s band. “Can’t Even Tell” is not nearly the most well-known Soul Asylum, but this 1994 release is one of my favorites.
If you saw Clerks, you probably remember this from the closing credits, but if you are looking for a tune that captured the entire mood of people in their early 20s during that period, this is it.
I still will fire this up on a regular basis. Enjoy:
Match Day 3
By the end of Germany’s 1-1 draw with Spain, it finally looked as if some things had started to click and while it was hard for me to imagine things starting to look — gasp! — dangerous, the Germany finally played with some urgency.
I am confident.
I will say, though, there are some thoughts that harken back to the 2018 World Cup where Germany was eliminated from the group stage by South Korea.
I am banking on history not repeating itself. Are you?
Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Germany
Other Match Day 3 predictions include:
- Ecuador 0-3 Senegal
- Netherlands 4-0 Qatar
- Iran 1-2 United States
- Wales 0-3 England
- Tunisia 0-4 France
- Australia 1-1 Denmark
- Poland 1-3 Argentina
- Saudi Arabia 1-3 Mexico
- Croatia 2-2 Belgium
- Canada 3-1 Morocco
- Japan 1-2 Spain
- South Korea 1-2 Portugal
- Ghana 1-2 Uruguay
- Serbia 1-2 Switzerland
- Cameroon 1-4 Brazil
- Last World Cup match day record: 7-9 (so far)*
- Last Bundesliga match day record: 4-5
- Overall Bundesliga record: 64-69
- DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
- DFB-Pokal record: 2-0
- Champions League record: 5-1
- World Cup overall record: 18-14
- WWU overall record: 90-86
- Guest predictions: 7-4