Süle: A big leap in my development
Niklas Süle will certainly never forget 7 April 2018, when a big dream came true for the defender. After a 4-1 victory over Augsburg, FC Bayern could no longer be toppled from their perch with five matchdays to go, so Süle was celebrating his first championship title.
"It was a really great day for me. It's the biggest title in German club football, it requires hard work over years," the 22-year-old enthused back then. He left home aged 14 to make his dream of pro football come true. Last summer he joined Bayern from Hoffenheim and went on to win the coveted title in his first year.
"I'm really happy. I'm even happier that I really played my part this season and appeared so often," added Süle. Before a ball was kicked numerous experts had thought the centre-back would not make many appearances due to the tough competition against Javi Martínez, Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng. But the 1.95 m tall 22-year-old featured in 42 out of 53 competitive fixtures, consistently turning in convincing displays.
The 2017 Confed Cup winner had to adjust a little when leaving Hoffenheim for Munich. "The pressure at Bayern is different, both mentally and within the squad," explained Süle: "Besides, you have to get used to the training level, everything's faster." But the defender soon succeeded, taking "a big step" and making "a big leap in my development."
It came as no surprise when Süle was called up for Germany's preliminary squad for the World Cup. At Germany's Eppan training base he has to prove himself to seal one of the 23 coveted spots in Russia. "We have huge competition for the position, it's not going to be easy for the coach," Süle modestly answered when asked about his chances of making it to the final World Cup squad. But 7 April 2018 has boosted his confidence: "Well, so as not to evade it with a diplomatic answer: Of course I assume that I'll take part in Russia." Which would mean another dream comes true for Niklas Süle in this special year.