Leroy Sane has come a long way from getting booed by Bayern Munich fans at the Allianz Arena during the first half of the 3-2 win over FC Koln back at the end of August. Julian Nagelsmann has showed continued faith in the winger and has done a great deal to continuously encourage him, along with the rest of his teammates, and it has really shown with Sane’s performances on the pitch. From a total of 26 appearances across all competitions this season, Sane has tallied 11 goals and 11 assists, and he also bagged 4 goals and an assist for the German national team in World Cup qualifiers across the last three international breaks.
The Sane we’ve just seen close out the Hinrunde is night and day from the Sane that we saw get booed in the first half against the Koln match back in August. His improvements haven’t gone unnoticed, so much so to the point that Lothar Matthäus feels that Sane has been the best player for Bayern during the first half of the season. “The mixture of the pressure that was on the boy, the difficult initial phase with the whistles of his own fans and the current development is already outstanding,” he said in a recent column for Sky (Sport1).
While Nagelsmann, his coaching staff, and most of the players in Bayern’s squad have given Sane all of the necessary support to turn his fortunes around, Matthäus believes a lot of the improvements are down to Sane himself. “That is primarily due to him, but certainly also to the encouragement, support and important discussions of his trainers Julian Nagelsmann and Hansi Flick. He is now a top performer, is at the forefront and has become one of the most important players at FC Bayern,” he explained.
It was Flick last season that had made it a point to speak with Sane and demand that he track back more on the defensive side of the ball, which he did do, but his form was still hot and cold. Sane has since said that it was a difficult season having just come back from his knee injury and having the 2019/20 season paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nagelsmann and Flick worked together to make the decision to switch Sane to the left flank, and it’s proven to be one of the best decisions Nagelsmann has made since becoming manager of Bayern. He remains committed to tracking back defensively, he’s far more productive on the left flank than the right, and his final product has continued to improve.