Update: 8:20AM EST
Plans have changed for Bayern Munich’s plans at right-back and if you guessed that there was another injury, you’d be correct.
In his press conference this morning, Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick indicated that Niklas Süle picked up a knock and now his status for the Champions League game against Lazio is now in doubt.
Twitter account @iMiaSanMia captured Flick’s comments from his press conference just moments ago:
Niklas Süle is a doubt tomorrow.— Sextuple winners (@iMiaSanMia) February 22, 2021
Flick: "Niklas is carrying a knock. Joshua (Kimmich) may play on the right side. But we still have to decide" pic.twitter.com/YDS8bkGH5T
According to a report from Bild (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick will once again go with Niklas Süle at right-back against Lazio.
Süle, whose performance at right-back in Bayern Munich’s 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt was generally panned, will slide out to wide to cover for Benjamin Pavard. Pavard, of course, tested positive for COVID-19 last week, which eliminated him from Flick’s roster choices for the Lazio match:
Niklas Süle will replace Benjamin Pavard once again in the starting lineup against Lazio [Bild]— Sextuple winners (@iMiaSanMia) February 21, 2021
In his previous appearances at right-back, Süle was very good, but the 25-year-old struggled at times against Die Adler, especially when matched up against Amine Younes and Filip Kostic, whose unique blend of speed, quickness, dribbling skills, and passing ability kept Süle off-balance and unconfident for the majority of the game.
Per Sofascore.com, Süle lost possession 11 times in the game and won only 3 of 7 ground duels against Eintracht Frankfurt. On the positive side, Süle’s passing accuracy was 87% and — at times — he presented a threat going forward. He was, however, clearly uncomfortable with his one-on-one defending, which has been a strength of his for the entirety of his career.
Pavard’s natural back-up is Bouna Sarr, but the Frenchman has been, well, extrêmement mauvais, so there will not be many calling for Bayern Munich’s summer acquisition to take the pitch.
As has been echoed numerous times, Süle is in the first year of play following ACL surgery. The initial 12-24 months of a comeback can be extremely iffy for an athlete both physically and mentally. It is entirely possible that Süle is not operating at 100% physically or with absolute confidence in his knee.
Those things can only come with time and unfortunately for Süle, there is no extra period for rest built into the schedule. The Bavarians will do battle with Lazio on Tuesday.