A Germany international with close to 100 Bundesliga appearances to his name at the age of just 21, Hoffenheim’s Niklas Süle is well on the road to becoming a bona fide Bundesliga star.
As if his potential was not already obvious, the versatile defender is also set to join German record title holders FC Bayern Munich at the end of the season, with coach Carlo Ancelotti obviously convinced of his burgeoning talent.
Speaking exclusively to bundesliga.com, Süle has opened up on the challenge that awaits him in Bavaria, as well as his present exploits with a young and vibrant Hoffenheim team mixing it up near the top of the table.
Watch: Hoffenheim's Marco Terrazzino showboating on Matchday 21:
bundesliga.com: Niklas Süle, you’ve achieved a lot this season. You’ve become a Germany international and will move to Bayern at the end of the season. How do you manage to keep yourself motivated?
Niklas Süle: It’s important for me to show the Hoffenheim fans that this lad will give everything for the club he’s been at since he was a youth team player, right until my last second here and regardless of my transfer to Bayern. It’s also important that I don't leave myself open to criticism, even if I make mistakes. I’m still only 21. I want to give everything in every game.
bundesliga.com: What will be important for Hoffenheim in the final months of the season?
Süle: We’ve only lost two games, so we’re having a really good season. We need to be ready to fight in every game. In terms of how we play, we’re up there with the best teams in the league because we have really good players from back to front. When we give it everything, we’re capable of beating anyone.
"I like looking at players and learning from players who have reached where I want to be, like Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Sergio Ramos." - Niklas Süle
bundesliga.com: What influence has coach Julian Nagelsmann had in your transformation from relegation candidates to European contenders?
Süle: Julian has a huge influence on our performances, and up until now, we’ve put all of what he’s told us into practice – and that’s not just the players but the entire squad. There’s a great atmosphere in the team, which is why things are working well. I’ve known Julian for a long while and I knew if he had a pre-season to put his ideas into practice, we could have a good season.
bundesliga.com: Who are your role models?
Süle: I try to do my own thing, but I like looking at players and learning from those who have reached where I want to be, like Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Sergio Ramos. From Ramos I can learn things like going in for set pieces powerfully. I'm taller than he is but I don’t score as many as I should. His determination at free-kicks is really impressive.