Niklas Süle’s injury layoff lasted for 294 days before the Germany international returned to football’s biggest stage during FC Bayern’s 4-1 victory over Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. “It’s a great day for me, making my comeback here after such a long time on the sidelines,” the 24-year-old centre back told Sky.
Süle was brought on as a substitute for the injured Jérôme Boateng in the 64th minute. “Obviously his injury allowed me to make my comeback,” said Süle, “But I hope that he is okay, as he is an important player for us in this competition. I’m very happy with how I played, though.”
Süle suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in a Bundesliga match against FC Augsburg on 19th October, after which the player spent almost ten months working towards a comeback – something which he has now successfully achieved. Bayern head coach Hansi Flick was full of praise for his centre back: “Niklas had an outstanding game, and he did his job very well.” With an eye on the final tournament in Lisbon, which gets underway with Friday’s quarterfinal match against FC Barcelona, Flick also said that “it is important to have substitutes that we can rely on.”
Süle, who played again for the first time in last week’s 1-0 friendly win against Olympique Marseille, was able to count on his teammates for support during his long road back from injury. “There’s a very strong bond between us all,” he said. “I was in contact with the lads every day. That helped me a lot. Now I’m happy that the dark days are behind me.”