In just his first season with Bayern Munich, Niklas Süle has made great strides since joining from Hoffenheim in the summer. The centre back has been a regular in Bayern’s team under both Carlo Ancelotti and Jupp Heynckes, and ahead of the German champions’ UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg at Besiktas, the 22-year-old is expecting a fervent atmosphere in Istanbul despite the 5-0 lead from the first leg - but nothing that Bayern can't handle.
Speaking to Bayern’s club website, Süle admitted that the Bavarians are sitting pretty after the thumping result in Munich, but that Bayern need to beware the famous Besiktas atmosphere.
“We’re expecting an extraordinary atmosphere in Istanbul. Besiktas will put us under pressure and look to win the game in front of their own fans,” Süle admitted. “But I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere. We have enough experience in the team to not be overawed, we still want to win and we won’t let ourselves get carried away.”
The young defender also spoke about how it feels for him in his first European campaign to experience playing at both Paris Saint-Germain and Celtic in the group stage. “The result in Paris wasn’t great, but it was an unbelievably important experience for me. And the game in Glasgow was just amazing. Those games are the reason you come to Bayern – to compete alongside the best.”
Süle explained that in the past he would gather with his friends on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to watch the Champions League action. Now he is a part of that himself, and has not looked out of place at all.
“For my first game against Anderlecht, everyone was expecting us to win easily. But the Champions League is really tough,” Süle admitted. “Although I’m lucky to play for a team that’s been a part of this competition for decades and looks to win it, so that makes it easier for me to find my feet at this level.”
Arriving at Bayern as a 21-year-old, Süle immediately realised he had to learn from the experience around him if he wanted to make it at the club. “Bayern is like no other club in the world. You have to get used to the level of training, but then you see players like Arjen Robben, who have achieved everything in their career, working so hard in the weights room every day, and it’s truly inspiring for a young player like me.”
While Bayern will be looking to ensure safe passage to the quarter-finals in Europe on Wednesday, Süle could in fact win his first major silverware at club level this weekend. The Munich club can theoretically be crowned champions once again this Sunday when they face RB Leipzig, and the defender is looking forward to the moment. “It’ll be my first title, which is something special. The Bundesliga title is the biggest thing you can achieve in German club football.”
Watch: Süle nets his first and only Bayern goal to date
And Süle will have played more than his part in that sixth consecutive league title. The defender scored the first goal of this Bundesliga campaign in the 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen. It remains his only goal in Bayern colours, but got the ball rolling all the way back in August.