After Leroy Sane had turned his performances around for Bayern Munich midway through the Hinrunde, his form started to take another dip in the second half and closing stages of the season. In consultation with Germany and former Bayern manager Hansi Flick, Julian Nagelsmann had made the tactical decision to switch Sane to the left flank from the right and that seemed to have struck a decent chord for the winger. However, as quickly as his performances started to improve, they dissipated in the latter stages of the season and that slump has unfortunately crept it’s way into his excursions with Die Mannschaft.
Speaking after Germany’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Hungary in Budapest, team manager Oliver Bierhoff explained that he feels Sane really needs to try to help himself to turn his fortunes around. Against Hungary, Sane was an unused substitute and cut a relatively disinterested figure during the pre-match and during-match warm-up routines, almost as if he knew he wasn’t going to be involved in proceedings.
“It’s not an easy situation for him. We’re helping him, but of course he has to help himself. In the end, as a player, you have to fight your way out of it,” Bierhoff said of Sane (Abendzeitung). In particular, Flick, Bierhoff and the rest of Germany’s coaching staff noticed Sane’s demeanor during his warm-up routines against Hungary and were not particularly pleased by the sight. “You shouldn’t over interpret your body language, that’s his way. But it’s important, he knows, that he has to perform despite this body language,” Bierhoff explained.
Obviously, Flick already has the experience of working with Sane during his time as Bayern manager, and he did a fantastic job of man management en route to the club securing the famous sextuple. That was Sane’s first season coming back from his knee injury, so it wasn’t expected that he was going to light the world on fire, but there were some noticeable improvements under Flick.
Bierhoff knows the sentiment Flick shares with the Germany players and how well he’s able to get his messages across, so he’s clear that the onus is now on Sane to do some work for himself to get his performances to improve. “Hansi is very communicative, is very constructive, always tries to win the players over, but at some point you have to say, that’s it now — and then a player has to do something make of it,” he stressed.