Borussia Dortmund's Niklas Süle lays claim to more minutes after sublime performance against Paris Saint-Germain

Borussia Dortmund and Germany center back Niklas Süle had a game to remember against Paris Saint-Germain in the final game of the UEFA Champions League's group stages.

Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint-Germain: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint-Germain: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Edith Geuppert - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages
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A 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain was all that Dortmund needed to come out on top of the vaunted Champions League "group of death" that also included the likes of AC Milan and Newcastle United. Having sat bottom of the group after two matchdays, this has to go down as quite an impressive feat.

One of the biggest pillars of that success on the day was a certain Niklas Süle, whose acrobatic denial of a Kylian Mbappe goal was a large part of the performance that ensured that Dortmund were able to clinch top spot in the group. With that sort of ability, you'd expect Süle would be playing a healthy number of minutes for Dortmund. As we know, that assumption would be wrong.

In the most recent days and weeks there's been some discussions regarding Süle, his minutes on the ptich, and a general discontent growing around the player's camp because of this. Bild even noted that Süle, his agent, and Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl had a meeting to discuss these concerns recently as well. According to the numbers, in the leadup to the game against PSG, Süle had spent more time on the bench this season (1193) than on the pitch (787). This would be a frustrating situation for an professional, naturally.

Despite this, Süle put in a very noteworthy shift against the Paris outfit, seemingly unpertubed by his situation. In an interview with DAZN after the match, Süle described his defensive heroics as reflexive, but he also showed some self criticism in his assessment of his performance.

"I could defend it better beforehand. It looks spectacular, of course, and you all can take a little peek there. I somehow lift my foot reflexively, but I believe that I should prevent it beforehand because Mbappe is known for his speed."

Niklas Süle

Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl also had high praise for Süle and his spectacular clearance, comparing it to a similar clearance by Dortmund legend Sven Bender in a game against Bayern Munich some years ago:

""Sven Bender was celebrated for a long time at that time. I think Niklas will hear this story even more often now. That was outstanding, how he still unpacked the slide there.""

Sebastian Kehl

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Süle's performance will go down in the memories of many in the years to come, but most importantly, the hope is that it will stay long in the memory of head coach Edin Terzić, especially when he is picking his starting 11 in the next few matchdays. It is a strong performance that validates Süle's claim to more minutes, and underlines that perhaps more rotation, especially in defense, is necessary for the defensive solidity of this side as a whole.