UEFA’s 2019 Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk has praised Bayern Munich and Germany centre-back Niklas Süle before the pair meet when Germany host the Netherlands in Euro2020 qualifying on Friday evening.
Liverpool and Netherlands’ defender Van Dijk has enjoyed a fantastic 2019 so far. The 28-year-old won the UEFA Champions League with his club before helping his country reach the final of the UEFA Nations League.
Süle has faced UEFA’s Defender of the Year three times for club and country so far in his career and suffered defeat only once.
That came in the second leg of Bayern's UEFA Champions League last 16 exit against Liverpool last season. Süle is unbeaten against van Dijk on the international stage, however, with a 2-2 draw and 3-2 win for Germany in the pair's two encounters so far.
"Niklas Süle is a great defender," Dutch captain Van Dijk told a press conference before the game against Germany. "He doesn't play for Bayern for without reason. I've already had some nice battles with him."
Süle, who has become Bayern’s first-choice centre-back since joining from Hoffenheim in 2017, is set to start at the heart of Germany's defence against their Dutch rivals.
The 24-year-old has already collected 20 caps for the Joachim Löw's national team, and could help Germany take a nine-point lead over the Netherlands in Group C in qualifying for the Euro's next summer.