Hoffenheim’s Bayern Munich-bound centre-back Niklas Süle thought his current side could have beaten the Bundesliga’s record champions by even more goals on Tuesday.
Andrej Kramaric scored to separate the sides at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena, keeping the Sinsheim outfit unbeaten against Bayern for the season, and cementing their grip on the third and final automatic UEFA Champions League place.
It was also another impressive clean sheet for 21-year-old Niklas Süle. bundesliga.com caught up with the Germany international to get his thoughts on the game…
Question: Niklas Süle, how does a victory over Bayern feel?
Süle: It's just cool to have beaten Bayern for the first time. We didn’t manage that in 17 previous attempts, some of which I played in! This was hugely important for me. I wanted to win in my final home game against Bayern. The fact it worked out is, of course, outstanding.
Question: Is there a tinge of sadness at the fact you’re leaving Hoffenheim? You could perhaps have been playing Champions League football with Hoffenheim next year…
Süle: It wasn’t so obvious after our difficulties last season that things would go so well. However, I also knew that at Hoffenheim I’d have the chance to break into the national team. There is a lot of potential in this side. My transfer doesn’t affect that. I announced it early enough, which was good for my team-mates and the club. I think everyone sees that Sebastian Rudy and I are ready to give everything before we go.
Question: How important was it to show your new employer how well you can play?
Süle: I didn’t have that in my mind when I woke up this morning. I try to play as well as possible in every game. That was the case last weekend against Hertha Berlin [Hoffenheim beat Hertha 3-1 on Friday], and in the weeks before. The fact we all worked so hard against Bayern is, of course, special. But we shouldn’t put this above other games. The three points help us get to where we want to be.
Watch: Süle on his thumping strike against Hertha:
Question: Was your performance today Champions League level?
Süle: That was definitely the case in the first half. We created a lot of chances against Bayern, and their keeper Sven Ulreich made some brilliant saves. If not for him, it could have been 3-0 or 4-0! It was real attacking football we played. We only conceded one or two chances, which is in itself an incredible achievement against Bayern. They have top players in every position. It was difficult in the second half, but we got ourselves in front of every shot. I’m hurting in two or three places (laughs)! It was a battle, but we enjoyed it.
Question: Do you hope now that Bayern's next Champions League opponents Real Madrid don’t watch this game as an example?
Süle: I sincerely hope that Bayern will be dominant. We also know that this is another level of game they have ahead of them. But you have to say that what we did in the first half was really good. If somebody had predicted before the international break that we would pick up six points against Hertha and Bayern, I wouldn’t have believed them. But we did it!
Question: What is next for Hoffenheim? How will you approach your next game, against Hamburg?
Süle: We have won in Berlin and now against the champions. Why should we go backwards? We have a great opportunity to achieve something Hoffenheim have never achieved. Everyone working at the club knows this. There are still seven games to play and we want to play continental football. That’s what we’ve been working hard towards.
Question: Are you looking forward to meeting your former coach Markus Gisdol in Hamburg?
Süle: Of course, I have a special relationship with him, he gave me my first start in professional football when he was here. I’m also glad it’s going well for him in Hamburg. It’s breath-taking how they’ve been playing in recent weeks. I already knew he was a very good coach, and I look forward to talking to him after the game. Until then, we are opponents, though, and I will try to keep them out!