Bayern Munich's Niklas Sule pays tribute to Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk

Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich in action against Ezequiel Ponce (22) of AEK Athens during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between AEK Athens and Bayern Munich at OAKA...

Premier League runner-up Virgil van Dijk will lead Holland out against Germany in tonight's Euro 2020 qualifier.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates with Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool after scoring his sides fourth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield on...

Niklas Sule knows first-hand just what a force of nature Virgil van Dijk has become. And ahead of Germany’s European Championship qualifier against Holland on Friday night, the Bayern Munich defender has paid a classy tribute to Liverpool’s Ballon D’Or-chasing Champions League winner.

Fans and pundits alike would agree almost to a man right now that no defender in world football comes close to Liverpool’s number four.

20 months after he joined The Reds from Southampton for a world-record £75 million, perhaps the best tribute that can be paid to Van Dijk is that his eye-watering transfer fee looks like a bargain these days.

 

Sule was left helpess when Van Dijk towered to score a glorious header in Liverpool’s 3-1 Champions League victory at the Allianz Arena in March and, after meeting the flying Dutchman on a number of occasions with the German national team too, he is in no doubt that the Anfield favourite deserves to become the first defender to win the prestigious Ballon D’Or since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

(L-R) Matthijs de Ligt of Holland, Thilo Kehrer of Germany, Frenkie de Jong of Holland, Leroy Sane of Germany, Toni Kroos of Germany, Niklas Sule of Germany, Virgil van Dijk of Holland...

"I've played him a few times now. He has an incredible physical presence," Sule told Goal. "I always had to cover him in the national team at set-pieces. That's when I realised what a guy he is. I'm not exactly skinny either!

“He played an outstanding season. He is also rightly in contention [for the Ballon d'Or]. That's also nice for a defender, to see that a defensive player could win it."

Van Dijk was far from his impenetrable best during the last meeting between these two international rivals, however. Holland lost 3-2 at home to Germany six months ago with the Liverpool powerhouse struggling to deal with the pace and movement of the Joachim Low’s roving false-nines Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry.

Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield on August 24, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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