Sadio Mane broke his brief goal drought with a fine strike in Bayern Munich’s 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen last Friday. The win also snapped what was a four-match winless streak in the Bundesliga for Bayern — a much needed boost in confidence after the international break. For Mane, the goal against Leverkusen took his tally on the season to six from a total of 12 appearances across all competitions, though he had recently gone five matches without a goal.
It hasn’t been easy for Mane, though, especially trying to help fill the void left behind by Robert Lewandowski. Julian Nagelsmann has used Mane in a variety of different positions in attack with the Senegalese international is also getting used to new systems, having been used to playing under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. Per transfermarkt, Nagelsmann has deployed Mane as a center forward nine times thus far this season, while his other three appearances were as a left-winger, a position he was very used to playing for Klopp.
In addition to getting used to playing a number of different positions and roles in attack, Mane recently admitted in an interview with UEFA.com (via @iMiaSanMia) that the move as a whole has not been easy, despite knowing that would be the case ahead of making the switch this summer. “It is going well. Switching from one club to another is not easy. I spent eight very nice years in England, six years at Liverpool after two at Southampton, and now I am in a new country,” he explained.
Klopp is known for the intensity of his training sessions, so much so that Liverpool wound up experiencing a plethora of muscular injuries in the first coupe months of him taking charge of the club back in 2015. It’s not to say that Bayern’s sessions at Sabener Strasse aren’t as intense, but every manager will have his different tactical nuances, and that’s something that certainly takes some time to get used to when a switch is made. “It is not easy because everything changes so suddenly: people, training, everything. Everything is changing so it is not easy at all. I need to adapt. I knew that and it came as no surprise. It is happening just the way I imagined it,” Mane emphasized.
It should come as no surprise that Mane spoke highly of the Bavarian hospitality, as he had previously mentioned that’s something that did ultimately help him decide to come to Bayern after Liverpool. During his tenure at RB Salzburg, he was only about a stone’s throw away from Munich and had often visited the city. “People here are welcoming, and they’re real players. People around the club are amazing so I am very happy,” he said. A spitting image of Mane embracing the MIA SAN MIA culture and Bavarian hospitality came after the 6-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt when he was seen embracing the travelling fans and leading the humba in front of the away block.
Mane said he’s also highly motivated by the energy amongst what’s a younger squad at Bayern. At 30 years of age himself, only Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Sven Ulreich and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are older than Mane in Bayern’s squad, while Senegalese compatriot Bouna Sarr is also 30. At 17 years of age, Mathys Tel also recently became the youngest ever Bundesliga goal scorer for Bayern with his goal in the 2-2 draw with VfB Stuttgart. “We have a very, very young squad. It’s the first time in my career that I have been part of such a young group. What really stands out to me is that they’re all hungry. They all want to develop and they’re attentive too,” Mane said of the youthfulness of Bayern’s squad.