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Update: Abendzeitung refutes Bild reports on rift between Bayern Munich and Niklas Süle

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Is Niklas Süle sending the wrong message to the Bayern Munich bosses in the midst of upcoming contract negotiations?

FC Bayern Muenchen v Atletico Madrid: Group A - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Update

[11:30AM EST] Abendzeitung reporter Maximilian Koch has taken to Twitter to refute Bild’s claims about Hansi Flick being bitter about Niklas Süle’s weight and fitness levels.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick continues to rely fully on Niklas #Süle, he has no doubts about its professionalism. The fact that the defender is currently not in the squad is a precaution, not a penalty. Süle should be at 100 percent so as not to injure himself again.#FCBayern

It is true that Süle was found to be slightly overweight. But only a very small amount that hardly makes a difference in a colossus like him. Comeback possible already on Saturday vs VFB.

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It has been a wild few weeks for Bayern Munich center-back Niklas Süle. There was a rumored injury, a dream of playing for Manchester United revealed, and reports that he is too heavy and out-of-shape.

Now, though, it appears that Bayern Munich is drawing a line in the sand with its defender and is demanding a bigger commitment to his career from Süle as there are allegedly internal doubts about Süle’s “professionalism” on Säbener Straße.

Spain v Germany -UEFA Nations league
What exactly did Niklas Süle eat while on international break?
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Per a report from Sport Bild (print edition), Bayern Munich’s front office is unsure on whether it will look to extend Süle’s contract, which is set to expire in 2022. There is doubt on whether or not Süle’s lifestyle is “professional,” which has caused enough concern to put any thought of a contract extension “on hold” until Süle can show a firm commitment to all aspects of his career — including his fitness.

As reported earlier in the week, Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick was unhappy with Süle’s “weight and fitness levels” which caused the coach to bench Süle against Werder Bremen and also make the burly defender unavailable today against RB Salzburg in the Champions League.

Per Sport Bild, Süle returned from national team duty two kilograms (roughly four-and-a-half pounds) over his “ideal” weight. Unfortunately for Süle, this is not the first time his weight has been an issue in Bavaria.


BFW Analysis

Süle has been widely thought to be the future defensive keystone for both Bayern Munich and Germany, so the fact that the Bavarians might be balking at extending Süle’s deal is a major concern at this point.

FC Bayern Muenchen - Press Conference And Training Session
Can Niklas Süle’s keep his eyes on the prize long enough to convince the bosses at Bayern Munich that he deserves a new deal.
Photo by Handout/FC Bayern via Getty Images

We knew Flick was unhappy with Süle’s fitness, but the fact that the front office is starting to balk on a longer-term deal for the defender is troubling on all levels. Given 2020 has been a dumpster fire, we tend to forget that Süle is coming off of a major knee injury — and has been very, very good on the field.

So why is this happening...now?

There are standards in place at Bayern Munich for fitness — and Süle will need to decide if he’s willing to maintain the necessary discipline to avoid this kind of issue in the future. If he is not, then maybe a move to Manchester United might actually be was he’s eyeing up.

A real cynic might imply that this is a strong-armed negotiating tactic by Bayern Munich, but that just doesn’t feel right in this situation. What we know is that Flick has extremely high standards for his players both on and off the pitch, and that any deviation from what he perceives to be the “correct way” to approach or play the game seems to cause a disruption for the manager.

The bottom line is that Bayern Munich has two very uncertain contractual situations with defenders David Alaba and Jerome Boateng as both veteran players could leave next summer. That would leave Süle, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, Chris Richards, Tanguy Nianzou, and Lars Lukas Mai as the center-back candidates heading into the 2021/2022 season. If Bayern Munich decides it will not extend Süle’s deal, the timing would indicate that a sale of the big man could also be on the horizon.

Maybe those rumors about Bayern Munich being interested in RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano hold more water now than they did a week ago.