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  3. Julian Nagelsmann has zero doubts about Sadio Mane at Bayern Munich

Julian Nagelsmann has zero doubts about Sadio Mane at Bayern Munich

FC Bayern München v Viktoria Plzen: Group C - UEFA Champions League
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Sadio Mane did experience a bit of a dry spell for Bayern Munich after a bright start to the competitive season, but he’s back scoring goals again. He’s scored in Bayern’s last three Champions League matches as well as two goals in the Bundesliga since returning from the September international break. All in all, he’s tallied 10 goals and one assist from a total of 19 appearances across all competitions thus far — by no means is that an unimpressive return for a new signing.

During Bayern’s four match winless streak in the Bundesliga, Mane, while not the only Bayern player to be guilty, missed a plethora of credible chances from that set of matches. It seemed like he was struggling to find the back of the net and, especially in the 1-0 loss at Augsburg, it felt like his touches were too heavy, a step behind, or a step ahead, though it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort and hustle. In the Bundesliga, his returns are slightly behind what his xG stats read (per Understat), as he’s 1.26 goals behind his xG of 6.26 and .40 behind his xA of .40 — his only registered assist came in the 5-0, Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen.

Julian Nagelsmann isn’t worried about any of that, though. Per a recent edition of Sport Bild (via @iMiaSanMia), Nagelsmann praised the Senegalese attacker in front of the whole time the day after he came in second behind Real Madrid and France’s Karim Benzema in the Ballon d’Or rankings in Paris. He also refused to criticize the player in any form for some of the chances he had missed in previous matches earlier in the Hinrunde.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga

Fast forward to now, and Mane does still miss some chances, but he’s getting in the right areas, continuing to create opportunities for both himself and his teammates, and scoring goals. His goal in the recent 3-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League exuded confidence in front of goal; the pace to beat Hector Bellerin to Serge Gnabry’s through ball, the composure to take a few touches and the wherewithal to chip Marc-Andre ter Stegen from a few yards out. He’s also shown during his time at Liverpool that he can end ruts at any given moment, and he was especially helpful last season when Mohamed Salah was having a baron run in front of goal down the stretch as Jurgen Klopp’s sides pushed for what would’ve been a truly historic quadruple had they won the Premier League and Champions League in addition to the Carabao and FA Cups.

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Julian Nagelsmann has zero doubts about Sadio Mane at Bayern Munich

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