Süle appeared overjoyed after his selection: “I’m very proud to be called-up to a national team squad as I’ve fulfilled a childhood dream. To be called up to the squad so soon after winning an Olympic silver medal is another highlight in my career,” said the 20-year-old, who added: “I will try to find my feet as quickly as possible around so many world-class players. I am now really looking forward training with the team. If I do get the chance to play then that would be phenomenal.”
Director of football at TSG, Alexander Rosen, was also delighted with Süle’s call-up: “Both for Niklas and also the club, his selection is fantastic news which makes us all very proud. Niklas is now the first player to be called up to a national side after training with our academy.” According to Rosen, Süle’s selection is “more confirmation of the successful approach being taken by the club.”
Professional Debut in 2012/13
TSG chief executive Peter Görlich also shared the same opinion: “Niklas is the first player to be called up to a German senior side who has graduated from our academy. It’s a great sign for the club as a whole but in particular for our youth set-up. He has progressed extremely well in the last few years and now he is taking the next step in his career. His progression has been meteoric, especially when one thinks back to his professional debut in the middle of a relegation battle in 2012/13 when he was just 17-years-old. We’re delighted that we could accompany Niklas on his journey from a TSG youth player to a full international.
In the 2009/10 season Süle was one of the first youth players to move in to the Academy’s boarding school and went through all of the club’s youth teams up to under 19s. Towards the end of the 2012/13 season, when TSG found themselves in a fight to stay in the Bundesliga, Süle was called up to the first-team squad for the first time. He celebrated his debut on matchday 33 of that season under head coach Markus Gisdol against Hamburger SV.
Cruciate Ligament Setback
Süle was also part of the team that played in the last game of that season to Borussia Dortmund and also in the relegation battle against 1. FC Kaiserlautern. In the following season, Süle established himself in the first team squad playing in 25 Bundesliga games and complete 1876 minutes of action overall.
Just 19-years-old at the time, Süle then suffered an injury setback in December 2014. In the home game against Eintracht Frankfurt he picked up a cruciate ligament injury in his left knee after a sprint with Haris Seferovic. Months of rehab then followed but also months of maturing: “I learnt a lot about my body and the behaviour of a professional footballer. That time off will make me a lot stronger for the rest of my career,” said Süle after his return to the side.
It certainly did just that. In the 2015/16 season Süle missed just one game, the final day clash against Schalke 04. Before that game he had played every minute of the previous 33 league matches. He was a regular for the Germany U21 side and was most recently selected for the Germany Olympic squad in Rio de Janeiro.
At the Olympic Games he won a silver medal alongside TSG teammate Jeremy Toljan. Just five days after returning home from Brazil, Süle experienced his next career highlight, selection for the Germany senior side.