Germany’s unlikely hero vs Spain once got team-mate’s tooth wedged in his head

Germany just about kept their World Cup dreams alive after coming from behind to draw with Spain on Sunday, with little-known striker Niclas Fullkrug grabbing their desperately-needed equaliser in the closing stages.

Earlier this month the 29-year-old became the oldest outfield player to make his debut for Germany in more than two decades, and grabbed a goal for his troubles too.

Having spent the biggest chunk of his senior career in lower league football, Fullkrug has managed to stay off most people's radar, but he was very much the talk of the town after gruesomely getting a team-mate's tooth lodged in his head during a Werder Bremen youth game over a decade ago.

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"That was insane, but a lot of people don't believe it," Fullkrug said of the incident, which saw him accidentally headbutt a team-mate in the mouth. "It was very dangerous because of a threat of infection due to the bacteria.

"We both had to go to hospital, [but thankfully] everything was put right and cleaned up."

Teeth have come to define Fullkrug's career in many ways. His colleagues have nicknamed him, Lücke, which is German for 'the gap', in a nod to the endearingly prominent space between two of his front teeth.

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Fullkrug made his senior debut for Werder Bremen in 2012, but after failing to establish himself in the first team he left to join FC Nurnberg in Bundesliga 2.

There, the goals began flowing, and three years later he was back in the top flight after firing new side Hannover to promotion. In 2018 he re-signed for Werder Bremen, and after netting nearly 39 goals in just over 70 games, he was finally called up to the national side.

"As a footballer, the biggest thing you can do is to play for your country," Fullkrug admitted back in 2017. "[Playing for Germany] is the dream, but I’m keeping my feet on the ground."

No need to do that anymore, Niclas, not after today!


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