Niklas Süle got the nod to start at right-back today during Bayern Munich’s 4-0 victory over Schalke 04 and the big man turned in a very solid performance.
Süle played all 90 minutes had four tackles, two interceptions, and completed 93% of his passes. Within his passing accuracy statistics, Süle had three key passes, completed his only cross, and connected on three of four longballs.
Needless to say, Süle’s selection and performance was a focal point of discussion. Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick insisted that Süle’s starting nod was not an indictment of Benjamin Pavard’s recent form, but a planned rest day for the Frenchman where Flick could effectively use his backline’s versatility.
“It’s not his regular position,” Flick said of Süle (as captured by Tz). “Benji Pavard has rising form and basically he’s been more dynamic with his play going forward; I’ve praised him for this internally. But Benji has now played two games in a row, so now it’s Niki Süle’s turn.”
Flick is correct, Pavard has been better and Süle was due for a start after sitting out consecutive games. While most are not expecting a permanent position chance for Süle, his ability to provide a capable back-up to Pavard allows Flick to keep Joshua Kimmich in the midfield and provides more playing time for Bayern Munich’s deep corps of center-backs.