What's wrong with Leroy Sané? This question not only concerns FC Bayern, it annoys the record champions. Now the winger is with the DFB team and is counting on national coach Hansi Flick to get him back in good shape. For the 26-year-old, it's also about his future in Munich.
Team-mate Leon Goretzka lovingly put his arm on Bayern Munich's weak winger Leroy Sané on arrival at the Marbella Football Center, while Hansi Flick relied on talk therapy for his problem child. "We'll talk to each other a lot," announced the national coach before the first training session under the Spanish sun.
Flick hopes that Sané, after a second half of the season that has been completely forgotten by the German record champions, will change his mind again with the national football team - and the Nations League duels against European champions Italy (June 4th and 14th), the European Championship runners-up England (June 7th) and Hungary (June 11th) unencumbered. "He's really happy to be here. He's looking forward to the task, to the games," assured Flick.
Sané recently gave up many puzzles. His fluctuating performances and his sometimes non-existent body language drove those responsible in Munich around sports director Hasan Salihamidžić to despair. After a strong first half of the season with five goals and five assists, the 26-year-old only managed two goals and two assists in the second half of the season. Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann recently complained that he couldn't say why the offensive player didn't always reach his performance limit.
Sané has a different standing with the national coach. "I think he had an outstanding international year for us," said Flick, who was a guest at the International Coaching Congress of the Association of German Football Instructors (BDFL) via video link on Tuesday: "For the most part, he also did very well in the club."
On Tuesday, Sané clearly had fun in fantastic conditions. He laughed a lot during the fun exercises at the beginning of the hour and a half session. The 42-time national player (eleven goals) also received support from his teammates. "It's not easy, no matter for whom, when you have to take a lot of criticism over a long period of time. If I'm going through a bad phase, it doesn't help if everyone continues to tear me down," said Jamal Musiala at Sport1 and assured: "We team-mates are all behind him." Captain Manuel Neuer defended the offensive player in Andalusia: "Leroy is an emotional guy and sensitive about some things. It wasn't a bad year. He had ups and downs."
Sané wants to flip the switch after he often snuck across the lawn in Munich with his shoulders hanging down. "If he doesn't have the body tension, then I don't like it," Salihamidzic recently criticized. Numerous conversations with the star, in whatever form, apparently brought nothing. If Sané, for whom Bayern had transferred 50 million euros to Manchester City, where he was accused of something similar, leaves his office, says Salihamidžić, "then I have the feeling that it's going to explode". But it didn't crack in the end.
Accordingly, the board made the national player more responsible than ever. "Now he has to come," stressed Salihamidžić. Everyone, including his teammates, would expect "that he explodes, that he accelerates". Now Sané, whose contract runs until 2025, urgently needs to deliver. His last really strong performance came in the 7-1 second leg of the Champions League against RB Salzburg on March 8 with one goal and two assists. That's far too little for the high demands of Bayern. "He's not a young player anymore, he's become a man. Now we want the club's appreciation back," said Salihamidžić unequivocally: "He's responsible for that himself in the game."
In contrast to other national players such as Joshua Kimmich or Marco Reus, the winger, who is actually so gifted, came to the active holiday on the Costa del Sol without a family. In the year of the World Cup in the desert state of Qatar, the full focus is on determining the important position in the Nations League.
Flick once again underlined the importance of the games against top-class opponents. "We're seeing a bit of the best in the world again. The four games will show us how far we still have to go," said the coach. And they will show how far Sané's way back to his best form is. After training, he did a few more runs after he didn't get that much time in Munich recently. Sane wants to attack again. That had already happened once before, last summer, after an international trip.