1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Germany's Niclas Fullkrug scores against Oman
Niclas Fullkrug capped his international debut with the winning goal in an otherwise flat Germany performance, just one week ahead of their World Cup opener.Image: Annegret Hilse/REUTERS

Füllkrug the difference in flat Germany World Cup warmup

November 16, 2022

Surprise call-up Niclas Füllkrug scored on his Germany debut as Hansi Flick's team beat Oman in their only World Cup warmup. The goal came after 80 minutes in which Germany were otherwise flat and posed little threat.


Oman 0-1 Germany
(Füllkrug 80')
Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (Muscat, Oman)

With one week to go until their World Cup opener against Japan in Qatar, Germany scraped past Oman thanks to a late Niclas Füllkrug goal.

Making his international debut as a halftime substitute, the Werder Bremen striker slotted home 10 minutes from time after Kai Havertz had driven into the box to set him up.

Füllkrug, 29, who is the Bundesliga's highest-scoring German so far this season with 10 goals, thought he had a second moments later, but he was rightly flagged offside.

The 1-0 win on the Persian Gulf means that, like in 2018, Germany head into the World Cup on the back of a victory. But, also like in 2018, that doesn't tell the full story, even if head coach Hansi Flick cut a calm figure at fulltime.

"This game has absolutely served its purpose," he told broadcaster RTL. "We specifically chose to come to Oman in order to get used to the temperature and the conditions, and everything went to plan, including the substitutions we made."

Privately, however, Flick will have noted several areas for improvement before his team faces Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al-Rayyan next Wednesday.

Moukoko: historic but frustrating

Because, for the 80 minutes preceding Füllkrug's clinical finish, Germany were sloppy in midfield and toothless in attack, with fellow debutant Youssoufa Moukoko cutting a particularly nervous figure in the first half.

Aged just 17 years and 361 days, the Borussia Dortmund striker made history as the second youngest player ever to play for Germany — legendary Uwe Seeler, who was 17 years and 345 days old when he made his debut in 1954, holds the record.

Moukoko did see an effort glance off the post just before half-time, but was otherwise more notable for his poor control in and around the box, with Germany lacking an outlet. That changed with the introduction of Füllkrug.

"Our balls into the box were much better in the second half and we could feel that there was a presence up front," said Flick, while former German international Lothar Matthäus added in his role as RTL pundit: "Füllkrug is a bit of the street footballer up front which we've been missing. He's there when we need him."

Man-of-the-match: Oman goalkeeper Al-Mukhaini

Before then, Germany's only real attacking moment of note had come when Havertz' effort was well saved by the impressive Ibrahim Saleh Al-Mukhaini after a neat one-two with Leon Goretzka – one of a whole string of saves by the Oman goalkeeper in a man-of-the-match performance.

Otherwise, it was the hosts, ranked 75th in the world, who looked more likely to open the scoring, with several dangerous counterattacks.

Their best chance came after the break when Zahir Al-Aghbari played in Jameel Al-Yahmadi down the right, whose cross Muhsen Al-Ghassani somehow failed to convert in front of an open goal.

Füll of confidence: Niclas Füllkrug celebrates his goal against Oman
Füll of confidence: Niclas Füllkrug celebrates his goal against OmanImage: Annegret Hilse/REUTERS

Having lost 2-0 to Germany in the only previous meeting between the two nations in February 1998, it would have been an historic goal for Oman. But Füllkrug made them rue their miss just eight minutes later, much to Flick's relief.

Flick: 'Everything is ok'

"Of course, we weren't at the level we want to be at the at the World Cup, and you could see that the players were being careful not to get injured, but everything is ok and nothing has really changed," insisted Flick.

"We're looking forward to getting to Qatar, arriving at the World Cup, and we think the players will be comfortable at the camp, where they can relax and prepare mentally."

But he will know that there is work to be done, and precious little time to do it.

DW Matthew Ford Sports
Matt Ford Reporter and editor for DW Sports specializing in European football, fan culture & sports politics.@matt_4d
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A protester outside Downing Street holds a sign calling for a total embargo on Russian gas

Russia sanctions: EU focuses on circumvention

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage