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Is Julian Nagelsmann responsible for Sadio Mané’s slump?

Wrong place, wrong time?

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Christina Pahnke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Last time out, we saw Bayern Munich attacker Sadio Mané get rinsed by a journo who ruthlessly pointed out all the Senegalese striker’s “faults.” Now, though, it appears that someone else might have had a role to play in Mané’s part in the team’s Sloppy September™.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann is known as an innovative coach who tries different approaches to finds out what playing style fits the team best, but it looks like he chose an inconvenient time to do it. A report from Tz states that Nagelsmann’s 4-2-2-2 suited Mané, who was paired with Serge Gnabry up top. A prolific start to the season proved that the formation worked well, even in the frustration fest that is the 1-1 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
Mane hit the ground running
Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

After thumping VfL Bochum 0-7, Bayern dropped points in the next four league games which included three draws and a shock 0-1 loss to FC Augsburg (who Bayern will play in the DFB-Pokal). In that stretch, Nagelsmann fielded a 4-2-3-1 with Mané by himself in attack. That led to the former Liverpool FC man disappearing or failing to impact the game.

Fast forward to the present, and Mané is flourishing in his new position at left-wing which was where he played a lot at Liverpool. That meant Leroy Sané, who works best on the left, is switched over to the right. Bayern fans would normally groan at the thought of Sané on the right, but he is playing better than ever and plays just as good on the right. Mané on the left resulted in goals against Bayer Leverkusen and SC Freiburg (one each), coming either side of two consecutive Champions League games against Viktoria Plzen (one each as well) for a total of four goals in four games.

FC Bayern München - Training Session
The team was in a rut, but found their footing in recent games
Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Nagelsmann explained that Mané was used to playing on the left which was why the latter was put there. “That was the idea behind it, that he comes in well. That’s why we did it. He is very used to this position”, explained Nagelsmann.

It seems like the person who was allegedly responsible for Mané’s funk was the same one who got him out of it. Hopefully Nagelsmann continues to push the right buttons and continue Bayern’s streak of good games.

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