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Oman 0-1 Germany: Fullkrug nets late to spare blushes
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Niclas Fullkrug netted on his Germany debut against Oman
Niclas Fullkrug netted on his Germany debut against Oman

Niclas Fullkrug came off the bench to spare Germany's blushes in their lone World Cup warm-up as they claimed a 1-0 friendly win over Oman in Muscat.

The Werder Bremen attacker replaced fellow debutant Youssoufa Moukoko at half-time and scored with 10 minutes to play in a lacklustre encounter at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.

Even with a pick-and-mix side that blended experienced faces with fresh blood, head coach Hansi Flick is likely to have some concerns a week out from his side's Qatar 2022 curtain raiser against Japan in Group E.

Despite a performance below the standards Die Nationalmannschaft are likely to set themselves, the former Bayern Munich boss will hope to have found clarity rather than confusion in their encounter with Branko Ivankovic's hosts.

Having started in-form Borussia Dortmund teenager Moukoko in attack, Germany pushed hard early on, with Leroy Sane their most dangerous operator.

An apparent problem for Lukas Klostermann – who only returned from a knee ligament injury this month – checked any momentum though, with Armel Bella-Kotchap drafted in just after the half-hour mark.

With nothing to show on the scoreboard come the interval, Fullkrug joined the fray amid a slate of sweeping changes as Flick looked to find a way through.

Germany looked as if they would be frustrated, by both their own slow tempo and the stubborn resistance Oman presented throughout, with the hosts determined to give their heavyweight foes a challenge.

As the clock crept towards the final stages however, the visitors struck, with Fullkrug released between the defence to fire into the bottom corner and give his country the narrow win heading into Qatar 2022.

What does it mean? Germany have work to do

Outside the upper echelons of the FIFA world rankings heading into the World Cup, Flick's job is to revive the national team's mystique following its transitional collapse in the waning days of Joachim Low.

But this performance did not indicate a likelihood of Flick emulating his predecessor by lifting the trophy eight years on from their last triumph.

Fullkrug stakes claim

Eyebrows were raised when the Bremen man was handed the coveted number nine shirt on his first international call-up.

Just months after helping his club earn promotion from the 2.Bundesliga and hitting 10 goals in the German top-flight already this season, Fullkrug further proved his chops with a first goal for his country and could have a major part to play over the next month.

Klostermann injury presents dilemma

With several teams having already seen first-choice picks ruled out with injuries after they were named in their respective squads, the RB Leipzig defender could be another in trouble after being forced off here.

Klostermann's inclusion after such a lay-off was arguably a surprise. If he needs to be replaced, expect Bayer Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah and Leeds United's Robin Koch to be in the mix.

What's next?

Oman will play a friendly with Belarus on Sunday. For Germany, it is their World Cup opener with Japan on November 23.


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