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Sadio Mane: Eclipse of a star at Bayern Munich?



It seems Sadio Mane’s move from Liverpool to Bayern Munich has not paid off for any party involved.

The Reds lost one of the cornerstones of their attack, while Bayern did not acquire a player who could at least partly fill the void left by Robert Lewandowski’s departure to Barcelona.

Mane has not performed to the level we saw during his days at Anfield by any means.

So far, the 31-year-old has scored 11 goals in 32 games. What might be shocking is that Mane has come off the bench in eight of these appearances this season. He serves as a bit-part player instead of a key man.

To make matters worse, Mane and Leroy Sane got into a physical altercation in the dressing room at the Etihad Stadium following Bayern’s 3-0 loss to Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.


The two already started arguing on the field when, during one of Bayern’s few attacks, Sane intended to play a short pass to Mane who instead made a deep run.

Moments later, Sane confronted Mane over what he considered to have been a mistake by the substitute, who had been on the pitch for only 14 minutes.

Once the pair returned to the dressing room after the game, Mane complained to Sane about the way he was spoken to on the pitch, which led to the altercation and left Sane with a swollen lip.

As a result, Bayern’s executives decided to suspend Mane from the Bundesliga game against Hoffenheim on Saturday and fine him. While Bayern do not intend to terminate the forward’s contract, they were convinced serious punishment was needed.

Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel stated that, in his eyes, Mane has received enough punishment, yet the clash has disturbed the team.


“I haven’t seen the incident myself, as I was in the coaches’ room,” Tuchel said at a press conference on Friday.

“It was important to me that we resolve that matter before the next training session. We did that yesterday morning. We cleared the air. We are not the first team where something like that happens, and we won’t be the last.

“It has caused a cleansing atmosphere.”

Since his arrival at Bayern in late March, Tuchel has maintained a ‘Mr Positivity’ persona. He even found many words of encouragement after the decisive loss at City, saying he is “shocked in love” with his new team.

But Tuchel is aware he has to worry about Mane.


“You need time to acclimatise after changing clubs even at that age,” he recently said. “Strikers like Sadio are sensitive, that is the key. It is about trust and patience so he can come back into a flow.”

Finding a flow usually requires feeling comfortable in your role on the field. Mane, however, has not found a role that suits him perfectly since his summer arrival from Anfield.

In the early stages of the season, former boss Julian Nagelsmann, who left Bayern on 24 March, used Mane up front in an attempt to find a replacement for Lewandowski.

But Nagelsmann realised Mane was not the kind of target player the Poland international had been for years.

Mane moved back to the wing but also struggled to discover his sweet spot in Nagelsmann’s oft-used 3-4-2-1 system.


If that wasn’t enough, an inflamed head of the fibula prevented Mane from playing for Senegal at the World Cup in Qatar and sidelined him for six weeks after the restart of the Bundesliga season.

Mane lacks the confidence of old

Tuchel seemingly prefers to use the former Liverpool star on the left side in a 4-3-3, or as one of a group of four floating attackers who try to crowd around the centre and break man-to-man coverage by switching positions.

Regardless of any discussions about tactical roles, Mane’s issues seem to go deeper than that.

He appears to have lost the confidence that once made him go into one-on-ones with any defender in the world. His creativity and unpredictability are, besides his goalscoring skills, what made Mane a special player.

However, since his arrival in Munich and particularly since he missed the World Cup, Mane often looks dejected. Even some of his team-mates are puzzled by the lack of intensity the frontman shows in training and games.


What exactly caused Mane to become a shadow of his former self is subject to speculation. But something is certainly off and which, reading between the lines, Tuchel has acknowledged.

The new manager has also mentioned trust and patience – two attributes that might not come to mind immediately when thinking about Bayern, who fired their head coach Nagelsmann despite a winning ratio of 73%.

Bayern are a club in uproar and Mane is a supposed star name on the downslide. It could be a toxic marriage.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.


Guinea player, Naby Keita suspended for rest of season by Bundelisga side



Werder Bremen have suspended Guinea’s Naby Keita for the rest of the season and forced him to pay a ‘substantial fine’ after he refused to play in Sunday’s Bundesliga clash with Bayer Leverkusen.

Keita made headlines over the weekend when he refused to travel with his teammates and instead went home after finding out that he would not make the starting lineup for the game which eventually saw Leverkusen crowned Bundesliga champions.

While reports claim Keita will receive a ‘substantial fine’, an official statement from the club has revealed he will serve a suspension. Keita will be not be selected for games for the rest of this season, while he will also be banned from training with the team and featuring in the dressing room.

Bremen director Clemens Fritz said: “Naby’s behaviour cannot be tolerated for us as a club. With this action, he let his team down in a tense sporting and personnel situation and placed himself above the team.

“We can’t allow that. At this stage of the season we need full focus on the remaining games and a team that is very close together. There was therefore no alternative to our measures.”


The former Liverpool midfielder joined the club as a free agent on a three-year deal in the summer of 2023, following a poor spell at Anfield.

The 29-year-old was keen to defend himself and his professionalism, taking to Instagram to share his point of view. He said: “Ever since I arrived at this magnificent club, I have always shown my professionalism.

“I have always tried to help the club and the great supporters, especially during this time of poor results. Since the start of my career, I have never had problems with my discipline and have always shown an exemplary attitude. I will not accept any person trying to tarnish my image.

“To the supporters, I have always worked hard in training to get the right result at the weekend. In training, I can only give my best.”

Keita has played just 106 minutes for Bremen since moving back to the Bundesliga last summer and now will be unable to secure any further game time during the current campaign.

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Alonso Hails Boniface, Other Players for Leverkusen’s Bundesliga Triumph



Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso hailed their Bundesliga triumph as “something extraordinary” after they secured their first title in the club’s 120-year history on Sunday evening.

Bayer Leverkusen had a 13-point lead heading into the match against Werder Bremen, knowing a victory would secure the Bundesliga even with five matches remaining. The hosts made easy work of Bremen as they won 5-0 thanks to a penalty from Victor Boniface, a wonderful strike from Granit Xhaka and a Florian Wirtz hat trick.

The triumph marked the end of Bayern Munich’s run of 11 straight titles, and a breakthrough for Leverkusen after they came so close in both 2000 and 2002.

“This is a very special moment for the club,” Alonso said post-match. “After 120 years, to win the Bundesliga for the first time is something extraordinary. The players performed, they were a top team together. I am so proud of all of them. For me, it’s an honour to work here.

“Finally, we can say Bayer Leverkusen is a German champion. It’s a huge honour for all of us. It was earned by the team, by the club, by the fans. Everyone, all departments, was working and fighting for this title, so we are a result of that hard work over many years. This is a moment to enjoy and a huge success for this club. The first title is always special for everyone. So to be part of this history feels incredible.”


When asked when he thought the title was within reach, he pinpointed their win over Bayern Munich on Feb. 10, which gave Bayer a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga. By the time Matchday 29 ticked around, Bayer Leverkusen were 16 points ahead of Bayern.

“That game against Bayern at home,” Alonso said. “It could have turned out that they would have been ahead of us. We didn’t talk about winning the title in the locker room that day but we all knew.

“We were all thinking about it. With the consistency, the quality of our game over the season, we earned this title. It’s not easy and we were living it every day, which made us believe. It’s an incredible team; all the players, even the young guys, worked so hard. Everyone was always preparing hard. We might need a little more time to reflect on what we accomplished but right now, we want to enjoy this.”

As Leverkusen closed in on history, fans invaded the pitch twice in the final 10 minutes. The first mini-invasion came after Wirtz’s second, and Leverkusen’s fourth, in the 83rd minute. Alonso and the players beckoned the supporters back. When Wirtz scored his third and their fifth in the 89th minute, the invasion was larger. The referee waited for the 90th minute and with fans still on the pitch, blew for full time.

“The fans were top,” Alonso said. “They lined the whole way to the stadium. We could see that they wanted this and we talked about it in the locker room, that we wanted to transform their energy onto the field. And again the players delivered and for me that’s special.”


Alonso said he did not feel the external expectation and pressure of having a role in ending Bayern’s dominance of German football.

“The weight of history was not heavy inside me,” Alonso told ESPN’s Archie Rhind-Tutt.

“I was hearing that but I said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ It was about bringing the right players; the staff were really supportive. We had a good team to play a good season but we have overcome expectations with the way we have played and deserved the results. It’s difficult to put into words but happy to be part of it.”

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Zidane Close to Bayern Job



Zidane In The Picture As New Man United Owner Schemes For Ten Hag Sack -

Bayern Munich have reached out to Zinedine Zidane to gauge his interest in taking charge of the team next season, according to reports in Spain.

Thomas Tuchel will leave his post this summer after overseeing a downturn in form which saw Bayer Leverkusen roar to the Bundesliga title, with Bayern officials searching for a replacement for several weeks.

Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso was the top target before he publicly confirmed his desire to stay with his current side, forcing Bayern to look elsewhere.

According to MARCA, contact has been made with Zidane, who has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid  back in 2021. The Frenchman is known to be keen to return to work and was rumoured to be waiting for the France national team job, only for Didier Deschamps to extend his deal with Les Bleus until 2026.

Whether Zidane would be interested in managing Bayern is unclear, but the legendary midfielder has previously confessed that he does not want to work in a country where he cannot fluently speak the language.


Jose Mourinho is named as a potential candidate for Bayern, as are Julian Nagelsmann and Hansi Flick, both of whom have already enjoyed spells in Bavaria.

BILD recently reported that Nagelsmann, who was sacked in favour of Tuchel in March 2023, is now the top target for the job.

Nagelsmann is currently in charge of the German national team but will see his contract expire after this summer’s European Championships. An extension has not been ruled out publicly.

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