It’s no secret that Leroy Sane has had a massive resurgence to top form for Bayern Munich after struggling more towards the beginning of the season. His price tag from Manchester City combined with the length of time it took to finally get a deal over the line for his transfer only exacerbated the expectations of him when he arrived in Munich.
Sane didn’t exactly cover himself in glory in his first season at Bayern, but it’s safe to say that he’s now finally found his form under Julian Nagelsmann and has quickly become what Lothar Matthäus recently referred to as one of the best players in the Bundesliga and one of Bayern’s top Hinrunde performers.
When he was still struggling at the beginning of the season, things weren’t made any easier for Sane when he was whistled at and jeered by his own fans at the Allianz Arena. That only rubbed salt into an open wound, so to speak. Despite the clearly visible toll it was taking on him, Nagelsmann and the rest of the player’s in Bayern’s squad, namely the veteran core of Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski continued to show faith and support for the winger. The constant support along with some tactical switches collectively concocted by both Nagelsmann and Hansi Flick have completely transformed Bayern’s number 10.
Now, Sane said he feels 100% and is thoroughly enjoying his playing. “I feel good now, I’m fit, and that wasn’t the case last season, I didn’t feel that comfortable in my body yet. I have not let myself go crazy. Julian has said that he is behind me, and that has also been enough for me,” he recently said (Sport1).
The decision to move Sane to the left wing from the right has proven to be a stroke of genius from Nagelsmann, with some insight from Flick. Sane has looked a completely different player than he did from the beginning of the season since that tactical switch has been made, but it’s more than that for him. He went on to describe how Nagelsmann has a “very good hand, reads the games well and knows with whom he needs to talk more and with whom less.”
Different players tend to respond to different types of leadership and authority, whether it is shouting instructions loudly from the touchline, giving dressing downs in the dressing room, taking a player aside and softly speaking with him 1 on 1, or even a combination of all of the above. For Sane, he said all of the constant talk about him and the shouting doesn’t really help as much as a softer, more intimate approach. “I’m one who says a little less. Everyone thinks you have to talk at me, but that’s exactly the wrong thing with me. If you’re only in my head, I start to go crazy,” he explained. He added that it helps very much that Nagelsmann knows “best himself where my strengths are and where they are not. And I try to use the strengths.”