“I think he never really asserted himself in his position,” said long-time CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge shortly after the change was announced. When Süle gave up his last game for Bayern, Honorary President Uli Hoeneß also attacked the defender: “That doesn’t speak for the player. I found this action catastrophic,” said the 71-year-old on the sidelines of the championship celebration.
Voices that also support the central defender’s criticism of FC Bayern. “In my career, despite all my sporting successes, I was not always respected as I think I deserved,” Süle remarked meaningfully at his first press conference in the service of BVB.
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Süle is an absolute top performer at BVB
But the bold step seems to have paid off. Because the central defender is now an essential regular in Dortmund after a few teething problems and enjoys the unconditional trust of BVB coach Edin Terzic. With his performances, the 27-year-old has played a large part in BVB being able to compete with FC Bayern in the fight for the championship for the first time in many years.
In 2023 alone, Süle played through seven times in nine Bundesliga games played. All games in which the ex-Munich player was used during this period were won by the black and yellow. In recent years, Dortmund still lacked the necessary stability on the defensive. Now they seem to have found a working combination.
Cheering together: Niklas Süle and Jude Bellingham
Fotocredit: Getty Images
While the newcomer was often set up as a full-back in the first half of the season or just sat on the bench at the beginning, Süle has played the main role in the defensive center again since the second half of the season. Together with Nico Schlotterbeck, the two newcomers have formed the central defender duo seven times this year and are Terzic’s first choice. The national player is increasingly becoming a key factor on the road to success.
The consequence: Dortmund is the leader of the table after 25 match days and ranks one point ahead of the pursuers from Munich. In the top game after the international break, there is a showdown between Süle’s past and present.
Not nominated by Flick
All the more surprising that the central defender, who was in high spirits, was not nominated by national coach Hansi Flick for the upcoming international matches. “We deliberately did without established players,” the 58-year-old explained his decision. Antonio Rüdiger, Ilkay Gündogan and Munich’s Leroy Sané are also missing against Peru and Belgium.
Of course, Flick’s big test run suits BVB very well: “Basically, of course, I prefer it if the boys stay with us and we can work together here,” explained Terzic at the Dortmund press conference after the announcement of the international game suspensions.
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