Opinion: Should Borussia Dortmund consider parting ways with Niklas Süle?

Borussia Dortmund are reportedly considering parting ways with Niklas Süle this summer. Is this the right decision for the club?
Paris Saint-Germain v Borussia Dortmund: Semi-final Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Paris Saint-Germain v Borussia Dortmund: Semi-final Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

Borussia Dortmund’s season is reaching its crescendo, with the club set to take part in the final of the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid at Wembley. There are also two more Bundesliga games to go, and after that, the summer will be upon us.

Many names have been mentioned in terms of club turnover and restructuring, with players set to bid farewell to the club. Marco Reus has so far been the most prominent name on the list of departures, with the club and player set to part ways once this season is over.

Another prominent name has joined the list however with Germany and former Bayern Munich centre-back Niklas Süle possibly set to be on the list of players BVB would listen to offers for. Süle arrived in Dortmund to much fan-fare on a free transfer two seasons ago, with the expectation being that he would be one of the leading players behind Dortmund taking their game to the next level and closing the gap between themselves and Bayern. Unfortunately for Süle and Dortmund, things have not exactly panned out that way.

Over the course of this season, Edin Terzić has preferred the partnership of Nico Schlotterbeck and Mats Hummels as his stalwarts in defence, and for good reason. The pair have been a formidable force, particularly in the Champions League, so much so that they’ve been almost undroppable. This has led to Süle having sat on the bench more than the player would have liked, and gives the impression that he simply hasn’t and won’t have the intended impact for Die Schwarzgelben.

The question then is, does Süle’s situation mean that the player and club should be looking to separate? The short answer is no, and there certainly could have been more instances over the course of this season where we could’ve seen Süle feature, which means there are minutes to be had for the player, so long as Terzić is willing to play him.

That perhaps is the crux of the issue, namely, whether Terzić trusts the player on the pitch. So much has been said about Süle’s fitness over the course of the season, and some of the player’s performances have been criticized, but this doesn’t mean that Süle’s appearances should have been as limited as they have been.

As has been mentioned on numerous occasions, Terzić has a strange sense of when to rotate the squad and when to implement substitutions. In the first half of the season especially, we often saw Terzić look to the bench very late in games, or at times when his substitutions have a very limited window to actually make an impact.

This has carried over to the second half of the season, and while the results are better than they were in the first half, there have been numerous games where it seemed like many of the starters, especially Schlotterbeck and Hummels, were running on an empty tank. For several of the games against traditionally “weaker” opposition, rotating Süle in from the start of games could have helped both Hummels and Schlotterbeck with their fitness, while also giving Süle actual minutes on the pitch. Considering just how much the centre-back pairing has played and Hummels being in his mid 30s, the club are extremely lucky there haven’t been more injuries in the defensive department.

Aside from playing at centre-back, Süle is very much proficient at playing right-back - a position Dortmund had struggled to fill before Julian Ryerson was permanently moved there upon the arrival of Ian Maatsen in the winter transfer window. Marius Wolf, whose performances are often a few notches below what Dortmund need, has been the go to man instead. It is a bit strange that Süle hadn’t been deployed in this position more often, as his few appearances there were quite solid, with him even scoring from this position.

While not his primary position, playing at right-back could have ensured that Süle maintained a higher level of match fitness. Even if he didn’t start or finish games in this position regularly due to concerns over centre-back depth, the additional minutes would have helped both the squad feel fresher and the player more involved.

Heading into the summer, there’s also the uncertainty around Mats Hummels future to take into account. If the veteran defender were to leave, it would be more imperative for Dortmund to hang on to Süle. The player has shown in the past that he can be class on the pitch, and his versatility, if utilised, is also an asset for the club moving forward.