FC Bayern: Only Sadio Mané is sad – Sport
How are you? Robert Lewandowski? On Wednesday he will be meeting up with his old teammates from FC Bayern again, and anyone who used to know each other so well and then lost sight of something is always happy to know in advance when life circumstances have changed significantly.
Does Lewandowski still prefer to have his muesli with almond, coconut or rice milk instead of cow’s milk for breakfast so as not to feel so tired before training? Is there even 1a muesli in Spain? Does he also keep the room temperature in his rooms in Barcelona at a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius and does he do without blue light from his mobile phone and television in the crucial minutes before dozing off to slumberland for his sleep hygiene? One does not know. But you can guess that he hasn’t changed his life much since moving to FC Barcelona. What you see: Everything as always. Even the goal celebration. He’s still clenching his fists in front of his chest like his daughter Klara did when she was two years old and her dad thought: That’s cute, I can do that too.
The little fists have only just been seen again. On the occasion of the 600th goal in the life of Robert Lewandowski. He scored it in a 3-0 win against Villarreal, then quickly nudged the 601 in four minutes later. After all, such a Lewandowski never knows whether there might still be a hat-trick in it. His record in Spain so far: 14 competitive games, 16 goals. Four braces in the league, one in the Champions League, he scored three times against Pilsen. All madness again. “He’s a killer,” says his coach Xavi, you have to take that as praise: “If he wants to finish something, he finishes it.” The principle, as has long been known, applies to Lewandowski not only for his move to the goal, but also for week-long transfer antics.
The fact that the game at Barcelona is completely tailored to Lewandowski, and that it used to be the same at Bayern, this thought came to mind again on Saturday afternoon in Sinsheim. The people of Munich just had them TSG 1899 Hoffenheim easily finished 2-0, the result was too low to describe the class difference. Nevertheless: They had won again without a professional killer, or without one that they had planned as such after Lewandowski’s departure. And after the final whistle sounded, the man who had been presented as Lewandowski’s heir in the summer, with great jubilation and inflationary use of the word “world star”, ran towards the center line with such a sad expression on his face that the spectators wanted to kid him .
Sadio Mané fired another courageous shot at Hoffenheim’s goal in the final seconds of the game. The ball roiled the side netting, but not the shooter. For the first time this season, the striker, who had just been named second best footballer in the world at the 2022 Ballon d’Or awards for his previous spell at Liverpool, watched from the sidelines as Eric started the game Maxim Choupo-Moting trotted onto the lawn. Bayern discovered the 33-year-old from Hamburg-Altona on their reserve bench three games ago. Since then he has scored four goals and now also contributed the second against Hoffenheim.
Trainer Nagelsmann suddenly reclassified Choupo-Moting from a nine to a ten.
When Mané was allowed onto the field in the 61st minute with a score of 2:0 for the ailing Kingsley Coman (horse kiss, not so bad), all the energy had already been drained from this game. Bayern didn’t have to do anything anymore, Hoffenheim couldn’t do anything more. It’s a thankless situation for a substitute who would like to prove what a hotshot he can be. So after the final whistle, Mané trotted across the lawn full of grief over the chance that had just been missed.
The first to give him a high five was a Hoffenheim player. The second Joshua Kimmich. The third one who came rushing from the direction of the Hoffenheim substitute bench: brown hoodie, thick beard. He hugged Mané and took out a cell phone for a selfie. Mane smiled. Then the stranger, let’s call him F. Litzer, was taken away by two security guards. And so disappeared So sad Sadiothe sad Sadio, as the English tabloids would have christened him long ago, in the changing room.
The encounter with Lewandowski in the Champions League (Wednesday, 9 p.m.) would now be the perfect time for a thrilling game by Mané. Especially since Nagelsmann noted that Choupo-Moting was tired in Hoffenheim – which sounded as if he would return to the bench in Barcelona, where Bayern, who have already qualified for the round of 16, are no longer at stake.
Mané’s sadness doesn’t quite match his performance. It may not be enough for a Golden Ball, but there is no threat of a rental business during the winter break. The great Lewandowski teaches that a temperature difference of just a few degrees when falling asleep can decide the strength of a top striker. Maybe Mané is just missing a small detail to become the great Mané who played at Liverpool again.
He at least played a part in the turn for the better at Bayern over the past week and a half. In four victorious games against Pilsen, Freiburg, Augsburg and now Hoffenheim, Munich scored 16 goals. Müller, Davies, Gnabry, Kimmich, Sané and Sabitzer scored once each, Musiala, Goretzka and Mané twice – and Choupo-Moting four times. Julian Nagelsmann recently explained that “even a world-class player like Mané” was unsettled at times, he said, after all he also had “brain, emotions and heart”. This went hand in hand with his decision to only allow Mané to play in his favorite position on the left wing.
Nagelsmann will probably either let Lewandowski’s official successor (Mané) play against Barcelona – or his felt (Choupo-Moting). As far as the top scorer is concerned, Nagelsmann suddenly announced that he was “not a classic nine, more of a ten”. Accordingly, Choupo-Moting would not be a center forward who can also distribute balls. But a ball distributor who can also be a center forward.
This rededication would have practical consequences not only for Bayern’s interpretation of Nagelsmann’s work, but also for Mané: One could no longer claim that Bayern with Choupo-Moting turned their system back to the one they played with Lewandowski. And the most famous addition of the summer could no longer be so easily accused of not being able to compensate for the most famous departure so far.