Bayern Munich center-back Niklas Süle is typically a quiet and unassuming fellow, but somehow, someway, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound bruiser has found himself thrust into the middle of a few manufactured controversies during this off-season.
First, aftermath of the transfer of Mats Hummels to Borussia Dortmund led to the now-infamous “Süle or Hummels” debate over who holds the title of Germany’s best defender. Later, media outlets gave Süle some guff over his weight and implied that the big man was getting too rotund. Süle, accordingly, had to response with the declaration that he was not a “lard-arse”, “fat bag”, or whatever.
Now that those idiotic debates are in the rear-view mirror, Süle is ready to direct his focus on helping Bayern win a treble, while continuing to develop and enhance his game. In an interview with Sport Bild, Süle talked about how he wants to see his role on the squad evolve. With the transfer of Hummels, Süle welcomes a larger and more important role on the roster:
I’m not a spokesman by nature. I still want to work into the roll a bit more — leading, pushing younger teammates, taking responsibility. I’ve gained experience now over two years at FC Bayern and also on the national team. Now I want to apply it more.
Süle is part of a defensive group that includes Jerome Boateng and recent transfers Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard. With so much talent surrounding him, Süle surely knows that he must be at the top of his game if he wants to remain a fixture in the starting XI:
I want to take more responsibility, play better, make fewer mistakes.
In addition to taking on a bigger role defensively, Süle would love to shake off some dust on the experience he gained as a striker during his youth days. The big man would like to be a bigger part of Bayern’s plans on set pieces:
If I’m allowed to go forward on corners and not have to secure the defense.
When asked specifically about his personal goals for the season, Süle gave a cryptic response without much elaboration:
I absolutely want to take the next step.
What the next step is remains to be seen, but it can assumed that Süle wants to be more of a team leader and help the team contend for the treble.