22under22 Honorable Mention – Niklas Sule


Niklas Süle may only be 22, but he is already turning heads with his quickness, strength, passing ability, and stunning 6’5 frame. Having stood out to me as the best defender in the Rio Olympics, Süle has a chance to be the best central defender in the world sooner rather than later.

In an interview with the German Kicker magazine, the 72-year-old Bayern coach Jupp said: “When I look [at] Süle, he’s going to be a superb player, world class.” Jupp Heynckes added that he believes his young star Niklas Süle will grow to the most sought-after central defender in Europe in a few years’ time.

Süle has already made 30+ appearances in his first year at Bayern, and made some key plays against Real Madrid as well, never once looking overwhelmed by the occasion and helping keep Ronaldo scoreless.

In addition, Süle is flexible, and looks capable of becoming world class in more than one position. He has even played the 6 position for Bayern on a few occasions this year, scoring a great goal with a composed finish in front of his new coach next season, Kovac.

For such a physically imposing player who can operate at pace – Süle has been clocked at a top speed of 20.3mph!  The giant German defender combines neat skills with an amazing passing game, while offering plenty of mobility. Indeed, it is unsurprising to some that the Frankfurt native began his career as a fearsome forward. “At 15 going on 16 I was training under Holger Stanislawski for the first time and wanted to make an impression,” Süle reminisced to bundesliga.com about his start with Hoffenheim in 2011. “I nutmegged Sven Schipplock and went on to score a goal. He got quite a ribbing for that from his teammates. That was my first taste of playing with the seniors, and I’ll never forget it.”

Süle also has only collected 1 yellow card in 1,800+ minutes of Bundesliga football this season – proof that he no longer goes to ground in a challenge, just as keen to take the man as the ball. His season pass completion is over 90%! No, you didn’t read that wrong. This is looking like a steal signing for Bayern every game he plays, especially given Boateng’s injury struggles over the past few years, and rumors circulating that he may even seek a move away from the Bundesliga Champions, Bayern at some point.

“I wouldn’t have accepted this challenge if I wasn’t convinced I could succeed here. I came to play,” the 22-year-old insisted following his summer switch to the Allianz Arena.

He has even caught the eye of other former Bayern legends: “He wasn’t a bit nervous! He didn’t make a single mistake and was so calm. It almost looked as though he never played for any other team [than Bayern],” the club’s former goalkeeping great Oliver Kahn said of Süle’s Bundesliga debut for his new club in August.

Süle also has a great work ethic for his age, a problem with some youngsters, like Demebele this year for Barcelona. Having worked on his diet and stuck religiously to the teachings of Jupp during each training session, hard graft and the close company of some of the world’s best players are reaping big benefits for him.

“The level of training sessions [at Bayern] is just incredible,” Süle said. “If you haven’t slept well or you don’t feel so good then you quickly get found out; you have to prepare for training like you do for a game.”

Overall, this has been a dream first season for Niklas Süle at Bayern. The sky is the limit for him. He may even end up starting alongside his Bayern teammate, Mats Hummels, at the 2018 World Cup in Russia if Boateng can’t recover in time from his groin injury. Die Mannschaft are lucky to have such a capabale back up option, who will end up starting by Euro 2022 at the latest, if Boateng does indeed come back. Remember the name Süle, because he is set to dominate for the next decade for club and country.

Written by @MiaSanMiaDFB