Nagelsmann needs him urgently: FC Bayern longs for "masterpiece" Mané back

Just in time for the crucial weeks, Sadio Mané reported back to work.

Nagelsmann needs him urgently: FC Bayern longs for "masterpiece" Mané back

Just in time for the crucial weeks, Sadio Mané reported back to work. Bayern Munich have high hopes for the return of the Senegalese superstar. But the 30-year-old has not yet lived up to the high expectations.

He shoots with his left hand, he shoots with his right hand, he throws himself into duels - and then there is always a beaming smile. "The feeling was fantastic," says Sadio Mané with bright eyes about his long-awaited return to training after months of suffering. "I'm very, very happy to be back with the team."

With the comeback of the superstar for the weeks of truth in the triple fight, FC Bayern has high hopes, even if Mané has not yet fully fulfilled the huge expectations. In 23 competitive games for the German record champions, he scored eleven goals and prepared four, Mané scored in all competitions - and yet in Munich they had promised a little more from the man who was supposed to inherit world footballer Robert Lewandowski.

The Senegalese scored four times in his first four games and, with his unassuming manner, immediately became the crowd's favourite. Honorary President Uli Hoeneß hailed the transfer of the 30-year-old from Liverpool FC as a "masterpiece" from sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić, found Mané "awesome" and "a dream for the team and our public image".

But Mané soon found it difficult to be a "target player" in the center of the attack and was transferred to the wing by coach Julian Nagelsmann. The Senegalese, his coach had observed, was "very self-reflective" and sometimes "perhaps a little intellectual". Despite all the titles with Liverpool or his role as leader of Africa Cup of Nations winners Senegal, Mané is "not someone who rushes in and says: 'Here I am, follow me!'" Salihamidžić also found him "too self-critical" at times. He demanded: "He has to get away from that." But before he could implement this, Mané injured his fibula head on November 8 - World Cup out, more than 100 days break.

He's been back in team training since Sunday - and is dying to make his comeback. "I'm a soccer player and soccer is my life. I missed it very, very much," says Mané in a Bayern video, he's looking forward to "the fans, football, the atmosphere, scoring goals" and "at the end to win," he says, smiling and throwing up his fists. Nagelsmann, who is still threatened with a ban after his derailment in Mönchengladbach, can use him well. The wingers Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry are not in top form, the top game against Union Berlin awaits on Sunday and on March 8th the important second leg in the round of 16 of the Champions League against Paris St. Germain.

"He's in top shape, does everything, has no more problems," says Nagelsmann about Mané. "In theory," the attacker could "play again, purely physically," after just one week of team training. Mané, the coach is certain, will "make it up to you relatively quickly".