Why wasn't Füllkrug in the starting XI against Costa Rica?

Many had expected Niclas Füllkrug to start against a very defensive team from Costa Rica - not least because of his good form.

Why wasn't Füllkrug in the starting XI against Costa Rica?

Many had expected Niclas Füllkrug to start against a very defensive team from Costa Rica - not least because of his good form. However, Hansi Flick decided against 'Lücke' and for Thomas Müller. What led to this decision?

Niclas Füllkrug didn't make the starting XI against Costa Rica. A rather surprising decision that Hansi Flick made. How would someone have reacted if you had read these two sentences a year or two ago?

And yet it is the reality. The Werder Bremen striker had scored the all-important 1-1 equalizer against Spain and was in good form all round and just as in good spirits.

Precisely because it would be difficult to create good scoring chances against a defensive Costa Rica, some experts and ex-players had counted on 'Lücke' starting XI. After all, he would also be suitable as a good target player for crosses and set pieces.

"The determination, we lacked that as we did in the game against Japan. He did that well," Flick himself praised for Füllkrug. However, the national coach had kept a low profile even before the game as far as the line-up was concerned. He described the inquiries as a "nice try". "We'll see," he said very cautiously.

Instead, Thomas Müller was allowed to play from the start. The 'false nine', who have been in poor form up to now, have recently shown themselves to be dissatisfied with their own results: "Of course I'm not satisfied with that. Even though I'm actually quite accurate in training..."

He himself referred to "the agony of choice" that Flick has for the storm center and wanted to downplay the importance of this personnel decision (via Sportbuzzer): "It's about filling the box well, and not just one man is asked be."

The man who finally made the decision then also explained it (via Merkur): "Thomas gives the team good stability. He sends the right signals, especially when starting up, and is important for us."

That's why they "didn't want to change too much", as the national coach went on to explain. "The decision was open for a long time, but Thomas is someone who always pushes the team and is extremely important for the team."

Oliver Bierhoff also commented on the Pro-Müller election. "We opted for some continuity in attack. It was a difficult decision for the coaches because Niclas had a great start. But Thomas is an incredibly experienced player who leads the team," he emphasized the desire for fewer players changes in lineup.

This article was originally posted on 90min.de as Why wasn't Füllkrug in the starting XI against Costa Rica? released.

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