A football coach who used to be Julian Nagelsmann's supervisor has been working on Säbener Strasse in Munich for a few months.

In the U-17 team of TSG Hoffenheim, Xaver Zembrod, now 55 years old, was the boss and nail man of the co-coach.

Now that ten years later you are leading the FC Bayern premium selection in reversed roles, the past has caught up with you in one person.

Christopher Meltzer

Sports correspondent in Munich.

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In Hoffenheim, Zembrod and Nagelsmann promoted a player from the U15 to the U17 early on. They wanted him to strengthen their team as a central defender - although before that he mostly played in midfield, sometimes even in attack. The name of the player: Niklas Süle.

If FC Bayern Munich wants to maintain its lead in the Bundesliga this Sunday (3:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and DAZN) in Leverkusen, it will probably depend on Süle again.

There is much to suggest that he will be set up by Nagelsmann and Zembrod as right-back because Benjamin Pavard is absent due to a suspension.

In the middle, the French Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernández would presumably defend.

Süle, Upamecano, Hernández - that's the trio that leads a defense that has conceded seven goals in the first seven league games.

On the one hand, not bad.

On the other hand, more than Freiburg and Mainz.

Supporter Julian Nagelsmann

A few days ago the data collectors of the statistics portal “SofaScore” published leaderboards from the Bundesliga. In the ball conquest category, Upamecano is first with 72. In the one-on-one quota category, Hernández is second with 72.7 percent. And although he cannot be found in these rankings from the first seven games, it is Süle who can be classified as a winner in the Bayern defense during this period.

It has to do with Nagelsmann that Süle is in shape early on.

Under his sponsor, who also coached him in the Bundesliga in Hoffenheim after the U17, he was always on the pitch in the first eleven competitive games, ten times from the start.

Mostly as an inside, now and then as a right-back, but not as an ordinary one.

He keeps moving towards the middle in order to initiate his own scoring chances and to prevent others prematurely.

Few working times at EM

This is a measure taken by Nagelsmann to minimize the susceptibility to counter attacks that his predecessor Hansi Flick always accepted in his system.

You could see the effect in the Champions League game against Kiev.

Süle intercepted a pass in front of the center line - a few seconds later Robert Lewandowski scored the 2-0.

When the game (final score: 5: 0) was over, the fans in Munich did not sing Lewandowski's name, but Süle's.

It wasn't that long ago that his name was associated with worse headlines.

In the summer, Joachim Löw Süle only played 17 minutes during the European Championship.

And also in Munich, where he suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in October 2019 and then several minor injuries, he was not without controversy.

When FC Bayern lost to Frankfurt in the spring of this year, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who was still CEO at the time, made him responsible for a goal conceded on live television. "He has to push the player out," he said. The criticism was not wrong, but firstly, Amin Younes, his opponent, might have succeeded with the shot of the season, and secondly, it was astonishing that Rummenigge highlighted his among the many mistakes. Süle as a scapegoat.

In Munich people talk about him differently.

That doesn't mean that they don't ask more of him there.

"Niki still has to develop a little with his potential and then exploit it as a very good central defender," Nagelsmann recently told the evening newspaper.

And: “It depends on his development and also on the market situation whether he wants to extend the contract or not.

Then we will see whether it works for both sides. ”But this decision is a bit pressing.

His contract expires next summer.

Uncertain future in Munich

At Bayern, Süle belongs to the group born in 1995 that is supposed to lead the team into the future.

Unlike Leon Goretzka (contract until mid-2026), Joshua Kimmich (contract until mid-2025) and Serge Gnabry (contract until mid-2023, should be extended soon), his future in Munich is still uncertain.

"If both sides come to the conclusion that it still fits together, I would do everything I can to stay here," said Süle in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung during the international break.

"But if you notice that one side is no longer seeing it that way, then I may say: I'm free of charge and I dare to do something new again."

Two to three years ago, Süle was interested in a move to the Premier League.

This is what it says in chat messages that have now come to the public through an advisory dispute.

"That was really a long time ago," said Süle.

But one thing has not changed since then.

There are some experts and fans in Germany who doubt whether the top athlete Süle really meets the highest international standards.

But one person does not seem to have these doubts at the moment.

The new national coach Flick always set up Süle from the start in his first five international matches.

Keywords: süle, munich, julian nagelsmann, football coach, boss, lucas hernández, bayern munich, dayot upamecano, contract, winner, karl-heinz rummenigge, defense, team, supervisor, lead