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Suele lauds ‘father’ Bellingham before crucial Sevilla game

Borussia Dortmund defender Niklas Suele praised English teenager Jude Bellingham’s leadership on Monday, saying the 19-year-old midfielder possesses a maturity beyond his young age.

Dortmund host Sevilla on Tuesday knowing that a win will secure them passage to the Champions League knockout rounds for the fourth time in the past five years. 

Despite not turning 20 until June, Bellingham has captained the German club in their last three games, including Saturday’s comeback draw against Bayern Munich.

“I think Jude is an outstanding talent,” 27-year-old Suele told reporters.

“I have rarely seen a 19-year-old player where you have the feeling that he could already have three kids at home – a father, a real family man.

“He has a degree of self-understanding of his game, where he knows ‘OK, I’ll go up front, I’ll fight for the team’ – and to see something like that is very impactful.

“We can be very happy that he’s here with our team,” the Germany centre-back added.

While usual Dortmund skipper Marco Reus is still continuing his recovery from an ankle injury and has not been included, defender Mats Hummels has been named to return meaning Bellingham is unlikely to wear the captain’s armband. 

Dortmund have won two of their three Champions League fixtures including a dominant 4-1 over Sevilla last Wednesday, but sporting director Sebastian Kehl said he did not know what to expect from the Spaniards who appointed Jorge Sampaoli after firing Julen Lopetegui on Thursday. 

“What Sevilla bring (on Tuesday), we do not know,” Kehl said.

“Things can happen through manager changes.”

Suele praised Dortmund manager Edin Terzic, saying he “had never been coached by anyone with such a close and personal connection to a club” as the Dortmund-born coach. 

“He’s a Dortmund boy, and as a team we see that every day. (We see) how much fun it is for him to manage his childhood team.”

Terzic encouraged his side to build on their good performances so far.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good situation, but that will mean nothing if we don’t press on.”

In Group G’s other game, bottom-side Copenhagen host leaders Manchester City earlier on Tuesday.

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