Coming back from a cruciate ligament tear is never an easy task for a footballer, and Niklas Sule has been working his way back to full fitness from the second tear in his career. So far this season, his still hasn’t hit his stride yet, and it’s going to take some time for that to happen. He’s started only one of Bayern Munich’s three Bundesliga matches thus far, though he started and play the entirety of both the UEFA and DFL Supercups. Still, though, per a new report from Tz, the center-back has a lot to ponder with the way his season has started for both Bayern and the German National Team.
In addition to only starting one of Bayern’s three Bundesliga matches, Sule played only against the Ukraine for Germany during the international break, and he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory in Kiev. Die Mannschaft came out 2-1 winners against a slightly weakened Ukraine side due to positive coronavirus cases and injuries, but it was Sule who committed the late sliding challenge that awarded the Ukraine a penalty late in the second half, allowing them back into the match.
Speaking after the match, Joachim Low recognized that his center-back still is a ways off from being 100% again: “The penalty was unnecessary,” said Löw. But Süle is still not up to full footballing speed after his ACL tear almost a year ago and a month-long break.
Sule was an unused substitute in Germany’s 3-3 draw against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League. “We have to be careful with Niklas Sule after his ACL tear. Normally he’s a player who always started. If he’s healthy, he’s a very important player,” Low said on his reasoning for not using him in that match. Low had also decided to switch to a back four for the Switzerland match instead of a back three, which also meant there was one less center-back on the pitch against Switzerland. Sule was the odd man out.
Looking forward, Bayern has a handful of English weeks coming on, so squad depth is going to be absolutely crucial. Hansi Flick has shown a preference for starting Jerome Boateng alongside David Alaba at center-back, but with Alaba’s off-and-on struggles with a muscular problem and Boateng’s inconsistent fitness, Sule could have a decent amount of opportunities to reestablish himself as one of Flick’s first choice center backs with necessary rotations he’ll have to make.