Goal contributions well in the double-digits. That had been the consistent barometer for Sadio Mané at Liverpool FC, including in his final year when he scored sixteen goals in the Premier League, buoyed in part by a change in position to a central role in the forward line. After his summer transfer window move to Bayern Munich, however, Mané has endured more frustration than feast.
It hasn’t quite been a famine, but Mané has probably scored as many or more offside goals this season than he’s actually netted for the Bavarians. And while he found a nice home at the left wing during the Hinrunde, his injury just before the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup derailed his progress.
Now back in the squad, Mané has had to adjust quickly to a new regime. Julian Nagelsmann is gone, Thomas Tuchel is in, and Mané is coming off the bench into the nine position for starter Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The sample size is still small, but it hasn’t been a pretty spell, either. Against Freiburg in Bayern’s shock DFB-Pokal defeat, Mané found little action in threatening areas and made enough clumsy challenges after his 79th minute substitution that he found himself with a booking.
But Mané is a consummate professional and never one to submit to dispiriting circumstances — or the chorus of critics. And speaking to reporters after the game, Mané promised that Bayern would see him back at his best again, and soon:
Bayern will hope so. Against Freiburg, the Bavarians looked like a team in need of some fresh ideas up front — someone with a golden scoring touch. Someone like the Mané we have seen so many times before.
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