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Niclas Füllkrug has no problems with being a backup for Kai Havertz with Germany

The start of Euro 2024 is right around the corner and Julian Nagelsmann got two friendlies in addition to Germany’s training camp to fine-tune his squad before kicking off the tournament against Scotland at the Allianz Arena. From the two friendlies, Germany tied Ukraine 0-0 and then came from behind to beat Greece 2-1 — nothing in particular to write home about, but there were plenty of positives for Nagelsmann to take away from what he saw over the course of the 180 minutes.
In both friendlies, Nagelsmann made the decision to start Arsenal’s Kai Havertz as the most advanced player, even though he is not a natural striker by trade. Germany fans have often cried out for the inclusion of a natural striker in the squad, but long gone are the days of Miroslav Klose. Still, Nagelsmann does have Borussia Dortmund’s Niclas Füllkrug in the squad, but he joined up with the squad later due to his involvement in the Champions League final against Real Madrid and was a sub against Greece.
There is a suggestion that Nagelsmann has a preference to starting Havertz up top in his preferred starting eleven with Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz tucked behind him on either side, which leaves Füllkrug as the odd man out in attack, even as the only natural striker in the squad.
For what it’s worth, the Dortmund striker might not be entirely pleased with going into the tournament as a backup for Havertz, who does often play an advanced, false 9 type of role for Arsenal, but he is very accepting of occupying whatever role is asked of him. “The coach makes the decisions. We footballers were always taught to be competitive in our youth academies. That’s why we all want to play. But you always have to remember: It’s for a big and good cause. Kai has my absolute support and I wish him every goal he can score. You have to accept your role and see it as motivation. The important thing is that we all stay with a positive feeling,” the striker explained in a recent press conference for Germany (via @iMiaSanMia). Based off of how some of Germany’s group stage matches go, or even if they progress to the knockout stages, Nagelsmann could very well decide to change his tactical setups to a point where a natural striker is called for. Füllkrug would be the natural choice in that type of setup and similar tactical changes were made by Hansi Flick at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar where Füllkrug had come on against both Spain and Costa Rica to score after Flick had tweaked systems to include a natural striker mid-match on each of those two occasions. Looking for some thoughts and analysis on Bayern Munich’s pursuit of Joào Palhinha, how he might fit in the squad, and what the roster fallout might look like? Then check out our latest Bavarian Podcast Works Show, where we also hit on why Sky Sport’s report on six big player sales might not be so far offbase and why the German national team did not give fans a ton of confidence after the friendlies against Ukraine and Greece. You can get the podcast on Spotify or below:

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