Despite securing the 3-2 win over FC Köln in their first home Bundesliga match of the season at the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich was nowhere near their best, especially in the first half. Köln was well disciplined with their deep blocks and Bayern found them difficult to break through, but spectators inside the Allianz Arena were particularly disappointed with Leroy Sane’s performance in the first half. After a handful of misplaced passes in the attacking third, some fans made their voices heard when they whistled at Sane losing possession. Julian Nagelsmann made the decision to replace him to start the second half.
Both Nagelsmann and Thomas Muller have already come out and voiced their support for Sane, asking fans to do the same. Nagelsmann wasn’t happy with the whistling and Muller knows that Sane will be able to put his head down and put it in the past. On Bild TV, as captured by @iMiaSanMia on Twitter, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge also expressed his frustration with the fans whistling Sane.
“I didn’t like it. I feel sorry for him. He’s trying, but has no confidence. He didn’t play a good Euros. With his transfer fee and salary, the criticism of the fans is slowly coming up,” Bayern’s former club CEO stressed. It’s clear that the high expectations of Sane haven’t been met, at least from the perspective of a portion of Bayern’s fan base. What’s also clear is the sentiment isn’t shared by Nagelsmann, Rummenigge, or Sane’s teammates, especially after a preseason where it was reported that the winger was playing well in training sessions and receiving a lot of encouragement.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the whistles against Sané: "I didn't like it. I feel sorry for him. He's trying, but has no confidence. He didn't play a good Euros. With his transfer fee and salary, the criticism of the fans is slowly coming up" [BILD TV] pic.twitter.com/jV7otwpT8K— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) August 23, 2021
While the situations were drastically difference, Rummeniggge compared Sane getting whistled to the devastated figure Arjen Robben cut after Bayern lost the 202 Champions League final against Chelsea. He missed a penalty in that final and had also missed a penalty against Borussia Dortmund in that same year, for which he was booed by a section of fans. “I remembered 2012 in the stadium. After the famous Champions League final at home.. It reminded me of the deadly sad Arjen Robben. He missed a penalty in the final, and an important penalty against Dortmund” (and was booed by the fans. Arjen was almost ready to ask to leave. But we said: ‘No, we won’t do that.’ He was an important player for FC Bayern. We supported him. Jupp Heynckes supported him. He was extremely ambitious. The result: a year later he was the match winner in the UCL final,” Rummenigge explained.
When Sane is on his day, he’s a truly remarkable talent, and that’s the Sane that Bayern want to see on a more consistent basis. The more frustration that piles on, and the more fans get on his back, the more toxic the situation can become. Hopefully for Bayern’s sake, Nagelsmann is able to strike a chord and cajole him to have his performances improve.
Even Joshua Kimmich, who just signed a new deal with Bayern, didn’t like the whistles and said they were “cheeky and bitter.”
Joshua #Kimmich zu den Pfiffen der @FCBayern-Fans gegen Leroy Sané: "Das fand ich frech und bitter. Natürlich sind es nicht alle Fans gewesen, aber die Pfiffe waren nicht gerechtfertigt." #FCB— Patrick Strasser (@AZ_Strasser) August 23, 2021
I found that cheeky and bitter. Of course not all fans were, but the whistles weren’t justified.
Clearly, Sane’s teammates have his back in this matter.