Leroy Sane did not have the best start to life at Bayern Munich after joining from Manchester City in the summer of 2020. Bayern had been trying to sign him for what felt like eons prior to finally getting the deal over the line and the cruciate ligament injury he sustained in the summer of 2019 seriously complicated Bayern’s pursuit of the winger. As a result, he didn’t have to brightest of starts to his tenure in Munich in his first season back from the cruciate ligament injury and he was constantly under the proverbial microscope.
Now, since Julian Nagelsmann made the tactical decision to exclusively play Sane on the left wing instead of the right, Sane has been in a fine run of form and is night and day from the player that was booed by Bayern fans at the Allianz Arena vs. FC Koln in the Hinrunde. So far this season, he’s tallied 12 goals and 14 assists from 29 appearances across all competitions and has been one of Bayern’s most consistent performers as of late.
In a recent interview, former Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge commented on how Sane is a completely different player than when he first joined Bayern. “He has become a completely different player. He participates in the game in a completely different way. He often led a wallflower existence on the right wing last season,” Rummenigge said (Abendzeitung). When Sane joined from Manchester City, the weight of expectation was incredibly heavy and he struggled to exceed, or even meet said expectations, which cause fans and pundits alike to really get on his back.
The mounting pressure seemed to reach its boiling point when there were noticeable, audible jeers aimed directly at Sane during the first half of Bayern’s 3-2 win over FC Koln after he had given the ball away on the break. In retrospect, Rummenigge actually feels that the whistles and jeers were beneficially in terms of getting his fortunes turned around. “The whistles from the fans and the criticism from the experts was helpful. It was obviously a wake-up call for him, along the lines of: ‘I have to change things and also fulfill the expectations of the club and the talent that God gave me in the cradle.’ Now he fulfills them,” he explained.
Since he’s been moved to the left wing, which Nagelsmann made the call for after deliberations with former Bayern and current Die Mannschaft manager Hansi Flick, Sane has been on an absolute tear and is looking fully like the player Bayern signed from City in 2020. In Rummenigge’s eyes, the Sane signing has finally come to full fruition of what was expected from him. “The whole club is happy, he’s happy. Now he wants the ball. Not only is he fast and dangerous, he’s also a strong runner and helps out on the defensive,” Rummenigge praised.