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Weekend Warm-up: A look at Bayern Munich star Sadio Mané’s role in loss to SC Freiburg; Reviewing The Mandalorian; Bundesliga predictions; Throwing it back to Godsmack; & MORE!

It’s time for Bayern Munich to regroup.

FC Bayern München v SC Freiburg - DFB Cup: Quarterfinal Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

It has not been a banner inaugural season for Sadio Mané with Bayern Munich.

Plagued by a penchant for going offside, shutdown by an injury for an extended period, and unable to really assert himself at a position just yet, Mané is doing some damage to the Bundesliga’s “Farmers League” reputation (you mean these German clubs actually can actually play a little bit?).

One thing that did go right for Mané is that he somehow avoided having too many fingers pointed at him for his role in Bayern Munich’s DFB-Pokal elimination at the hands of SC Freiburg.

FC Bayern München v SC Freiburg - DFB Cup: Quarterfinal
Sadio Mané has had an up-and-down season so far with Bayern Munich. Can he turn it around?
Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images

Jamal Musiala? Thomas Tuchel cast a little shade his way and some knuckleheads online put the heat on the phenom for a handball call that set up the game-winning penalty kick.

Tuchel? HELL NO! At least according to sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić.

The Bayern Munich board? Sure, they took some heat for the decision to change coaches at a totally inopportune juncture of the season, but not nearly enough.

Thomas Müller? Tuchel intimated that the Raumdeuter should have done better with his chance at the end of the first half (the coach is correct on that).

But Mané, who entered the game in the 79th minute, only to pick up two sloppy fouls, including a needless yellow card that gave SC Freiburg a free kick in an advantageous position (while also not doing anything to boost the attack)? Nada.

It seems that Mané has developed a Teflon suit from some at Bayern Munich.

In previous years (and even this season as well), there was no such treatment for the star players. Robert Lewandowski was often slammed by fans on his off days. Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, Benjamin Pavard, and Kingsley Coman have all taken heat for one reason or another. Right or wrong, Mané is getting a bit of a pass.

Now, I’m not saying Mané should be solely to blame for the loss to SC Freiburg. Make no mistake, the entire team suffered through a miserable performance. However, it is 100% fair to say that a veteran player at his level should be able to avoid that exact kind of careless foul in the waning minutes of an elimination game.

While many were lamenting Julian Nagelsmann’s ability to find a way to best utilize Mané, maybe some of the focus should have been on the former Liverpool FC’s star willingness to adapt. By all accounts, Mané is a professional who has endeared himself to his teammates off the field, but has he done what is needed to integrate his game with his teammates on the pitch?

I think that could be questioned.

By now, we’ve heard of an alleged confrontation with Nagelsmann and we know his struggles with offside calls. What we have also seen is that if you were to pick a Best XI for the Bavarians this season, the Senegalese attacker probably would have to find a seat on the bench.

So yeah, Mané probably did get off easy for his role in Bayern Munich’s loss to SC Freiburg — but he has gotten a bit of a free pass all season. For a player who was billed as a “star-for-star” replacement for Lewandowski, Mané has fallen short during this opening campaign.

Can he find a way to pick it up and redeem himself this season? Maybe, but he is going to have to find a way to figure out a position — and a way to operate better on the pitch with his teammates.

There would, however, be no better time for prime Mané to emerge at Bayern Munich, though, right? This is when the team will need that level of player the most. A resurgent Mané powering Bayern Munich the league crown and a Champions League title would be a storybook ending to what has been a difficult season.

We have a few weeks to see if that happens. For the sake of Bayern Munich fans everywhere, let’s hope we get to see Mané make good on his recent promise that we would see the Liverpool version of him “soon.”

Even for someone doubting his long-term prospects with the team, I predicted (here) that Tuchel will look to get Mané going by giving him a start against SC Freiburg on Saturday... will the coach see things the same way?


How would you rate Bayern Munich’s acquisition of Sadio Mané?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Love it - He is what the team needed, no matter what the results have been so far.
    (15 votes)
  • 5%
    It was good, not great.
    (17 votes)
  • 16%
    Meh, they needed to make a move to get a big name after losing Lewandowski. It’s been okay.
    (49 votes)
  • 43%
    It’s been disappointing to say the least.
    (133 votes)
  • 8%
    It has been a trainwreck.
    (27 votes)
  • 20%
    Give the man time! He will get things turned around.
    (64 votes)
305 votes total Vote Now

Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 2, Episode 39

Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg are turning into a Rocky-type franchise at this point.

The teams battled in the DFB-Pokal and will now carry the fracas over to the Bundesliga in what amounts to a very key game for Bayern Munich’s title hopes. That game, however, is just one of several talking points to emerge from this week.

Let’s dig in. This is what we have on tap for this episode:

  • A preview of the Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg. Tensions should be high after Freiburg’s upset win in the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday.
  • The terrible optics of Thomas Tuchel’s decision to start Joao Cancelo against SC Freiburg.
  • Reports say Tuchel wants a new striker.
  • Why Tuchel’s job is going to get a lot harder in the coming days and weeks.

Song of the Week: “Whatever” by Godsmack

This NSFW song was a ripper back in the late 90s. Angry, hard, was great. I still enjoy giving a listen on my iTunes rotation. It gets the blood flowing and is exactly what I needed this morning.

Released in 1998, I think I first came upon in 1999 and I was all-in. At that time, metal and hard rock still got a lot of radio airplay, so this was a staple of the local station in Philly:

Entertainment Rundown

The Mandalorian

As always with The Mandalorian, it looked like there was a mission for this particular episode that served a purpose to advancing the overall storyline. Only this time, it did not (more on that later).

Now, I did enjoy the episode as a one-off, but you could have slashed it from the season and it likely would not have made much of a difference. Anyway, let’s roll with it:

  • I didn’t expect to see cameo appearances from Jack Black, Lizzo, and Christopher Lloyd, but here we are. Unlike some folks, I didn’t hate it. Sure, it was forced and yeah it was a little awkward, but it’s fine.
  • My guess is that Black probably asked for the cameo. When my kids were way younger, they liked a show called Yo Gabba Gabba. Black made an appearance on it after his child talked about how much they liked the show. Black called up Nickelodeon, pitched making a cameo on the show...and made it happen. It was that easy for him.
  • A fun fact we got from this episode is that droids have bars and we got a true “record scratch” moment when Bo Kattan and Din Djarin walked into the droid bar as well. That was well-done.
  • The fact I just typed that in 2023 is nothing I could have ever predicted when I was a kid watching A New Hope.
  • Lloyd’s Commissioner Hellgate being the episode’s main baddie was a surprise (and yes, a little contrived, too).
  • Admittedly, the rogue droid storyline was extremely shoehorned in and was really just filler that didn’t serve a purpose. I have crushed shows like The Sopranos for wasting the time of viewers with episodes that don’t really serve a purpose other than to fill time. I somehow enjoyed this as a one-off, but acknowledge I know it probably angered a lot of folks.
  • The passing on of the Darksaber is something I had been waiting for given the events that occurred on Mandalore.
  • Oh, and here is my guy Phil stating that he liked the episode (probably a little more than I did), but it sounds like he knew some backlash would be generated from this episode:


The ultimate revenge game! Just days after SC Freiburg dumped Bayern Munich from the DFB-Pokal, the two teams will meet again to do battle! The Bavarians are probably a little mentally wounded from Tuesday’s debacle, but they’ll have to rebound quickly and put that loss behind them.

The biggest question going into this match is how much Thomas Tuchel will change. Will he use a different formation? Different players? There will be a lot of intrigue for the squad selection in this match.

It might seem a little early for Thomas Tuchel to have a decisive game during his very brief tenure at Bayern Munich, but if the team comes out flat and inefficient again, fans will start to see some red flags about where this is all heading.

I can’t see that happening. I can’t fathom Bayern Munich throwing up another stinker. I don’t even want to think about what things might look like if they do.

Prediction: SC Freiburg 1-3 Bayern Munich

Other Bundesliga Match Day 27 predictions include:

  • FC Augsburg 2-1 FC Köln
  • Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Union Berlin
  • Mainz 05 1-1 Werder Bremen
  • Hertha Berlin 1-4 RB Leipzig
  • Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 Wolfsburg
  • VfL Bochum 1-2 VfB Stuttgart
  • Hoffenheim 1-0 Schalke 04

Champions League prediction

This is not a knock on Thomas Tuchel (who admittedly has proven he can top Pep Guardiola on the biggest of stages), but I felt a lot better about this tie with Julian Nagelsmann at the helm.

It took Nagelsmann over a year-and-a-half to figure out how to best use the core of this roster, but he finally had done it...only to be surprisingly sacked. More than formations or tactics, however, Nagelsmann had found the best functioning 11 players for the club to use together. Now, Tuchel is toying around with player combinations, positions, etc. — all things that would ideally be figured by September in most season.

Unfortunately for Bayern Munich, it is now April.

The Bavarians were going to have their work cut out for them no matter who was coaching, but the change in leadership at this juncture (plus about a million other reasons) has led to a little too much uncertainty for my liking. Bayern Munich still has the talent to compete with Manchester City, but I’m not convinced that Tuchel can push all of the right buttons just yet.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Bayern Munich

Prediction Records

  • Overall Bundesliga record: 118-116
  • Last week’s Bundesliga record: 3-6
  • DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
  • DFB-Pokal record: 3-1
  • Champions League record: 5-3
  • World Cup overall record: 38-25
  • WWU overall record: 165-146
  • Guest predictions: 7-5

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