Niklas Süle looking forward to Ajax

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He's 1.95 metres tall and weighs 95 kilogrammes, with shoulders like a bear. Niklas Süle's appearance alone commands total respect from forwards all over Europe, and when he makes use of his height and weight in tackles his opponents can be forgiven for being put off. At the age of just 23, the Frankfurt-born defender has already established himself at FC Bayern. Along with his team-mates, he ensured that the Reds boast their best Champions League group stage in years, conceding just two goals.

In Wednesday's clash with Ajax, Süle & Co aim to ensure a good starting position for the knockout stages with a solid defence. "We definitely want to finish first. It's good that we know we've already qualified, that was our minimum target. But the big goal is to win the group, and we want to achieve it," declared the Germany international, revealing his objectives for the game to which he is already looking forward.

A Better Performance

"Just recently, we played in Amsterdam with the national team. It's a really nice stadium, and Ajax are strong opponents. They've already shown at the Allianz Arena how good they are. They have a lot of young players. We're determined to turn in a different performance than in the first leg." The first meeting between Bayern and Ajax ended in a 1-1 draw.

Süle is confident Bayern will come out on top. One reason is the change of formation made a few weeks ago, to playing with two holding midfielders. "To some extent we've already played the way people want to see us play thanks to it. With Jo [Kimmich] and Leon [Goretzka] we have two players who're very confident and who always want to have the ball. Two hard-running holding midfielders make it very pleasant at the back," the defensive giant added.

'Favourite time of the year'

With this compact formation, three points should be the order of the day in Amsterdam to not only win the group but also approach the upcoming matches with a good feeling and then end the year on a positive note. Süle can hardly wait for the winter break. "This is almost my favourite time of year. You don't get to spend much time with the family during the season. At Christmas, it's great."

The move to Munich 18 months ago increased the distance to the 2006 Olympic silver medal winner's home town to some extent - but it’s been worth it. "I think I've taken the next step as a person and as a player. I was lucky to be able to play in the big games and show that I was capable of hacking it," remarked Süle, looking back on his time in Munich so far and certainly thinking of last year's CL semi-final against Real Madrid, where Bayern's number four left prestigious opponents like Cristiano Ronaldo with barely a chance.

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