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Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is a fan of Bayern Munich’s Niklas Süle

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There will be at least two world-class defenders on the pitch later today according to Liverpool center-back and Netherlands international Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman counts Bayern Munich and Germany defender Niklas Süle as “great.”

Germany - Training And Press Conference Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images

Netherlands center-back Virgil van Dijk is undoubtedly one of the best central defenders — if not best overall players — in the world. The Liverpool man, however, can see at least one center-back on Germany that he considers one of the best as well: Bayern Munich’s Niklas Süle.

Van Dijk commented on Süle’s prowess on the pitch (Bundesliga.com):

Niklas Süle is a great defender. He doesn’t play for Bayern for [no] reason. I’ve already had some nice battles with him.

Süle surely appreciated the compliment, but admitted that he has some work to do to truly get to that level (Abendzeitung):

I can certainly develop further in many things — and I have to. I am a very strong communicator off the pitch, but I’m still missing a little on the pitch to become a real defensive boss.

Germany’s defensive alignment is one of the key aspects of today’s game. Will Joachim Löw use a back-three or a back-four defensively? Süle knows which alignment he prefers:

I’m a big fan of the back-three because we’re very flexible in our buildup and always have an extra man to move around on defense. You can be very compact with it.

Regardless, the Van Dijk vs. Süle showdown will be one of the fascinating subplots of this qualifying match. Still, Süle’s Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft teammate Joshua Kimmich knows who he will pick to come out on top (Abendzeitung):

But I also have to say one thing: Van Dijk is more of a classic defender; in pure footballing terms, I think Niklas Süle is better in some ways. For example, I like his build-up play more.