Bayern Munich decided to use a bold approach to replace Robert Lewandowski in the summer transfer window. The Polish striker sealed a move to FC Barcelona after spending eight years at Bayern. Die Roten replaced him with the signings of Sadio Mane and Mattys Tel instead of going for a traditional number nine.
Sadio Mane enjoyed a terrific start to the season with four goals in the first four competitive games of the season. The Senegalese forward was thriving in a fluid front four by largely playing in the number nine role. He enjoyed a lot of success in the position with Liverpool during the second half of last season when the Merseyside club was challenging for a quadruple.
After an explosive start to the season with Die Roten, Mane experienced a slump in performances during September. The former Southampton forward has not scored a goal for Bayern since the emphatic 7-0 win against Bochum in the Bundesliga on August 21. Julian Nagelsmann also moved him to the left flank without any success.
Mane has always responded strongly after going through lean patches during his time at Liverpool. While talking to SportBild (via GGFN) this week, Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic insisted that Mane is still adapting to a new league and country. He is confident about seeing the best of Mane in Bavarian colours as the season progresses.
"“Sadio still needs a little time, he has to get used to it, including the Bundesliga, but he will. He knows what it’s like to arrive as a newcomer to a team, in a different country, in a different city and in a slightly different football culture.”“Sadio is one of the best players in the world. He’ll bring very good performances. We’ll still have a lot of joy with him.”"
Mane had a productive spell with Senegal during the international break as he converted from the spot against Bolivia. The Bavarian faithful will be hoping that Mane will end his goal drought for Die Roten against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday.
Nagelsmann should look to stick with Sadio Mane as the number nine for now. There are enough options on the left flank, but Mane is the only experience forward that has recently played as number nine at the top level. He enjoyed a very productive second half of the season with Liverpool in this role, so Die Roten needs to be patient with him as a striker.
A goal against Leverkusen will most likely open the floodgates for Mane. The 30-year-old forward tends to go on a scoring run once he finds momentum in his performances. Friday will be a good day to start another scoring run since Bayern is desperately looking to get a win in the Bundesliga after dropping points in the last four league games.
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Along with Sadio Mane, other forwards also need to step up in the coming weeks. Finishing chances is one of the key areas Bayern needs improvement to get their season back on track in the Bundesliga. The team did create chances against Augsburg two weeks ago, but poor finishing let the team down.