“It wasn’t on purpose,” Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sané said to DAZN following his club’s 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League. “I wanted to cross. I was lucky that my technique wasn’t good in this instance.”
The winger had a big smile on his face while he was speaking to the German broadcaster. And Sané had every reason to be happy. The 25-year-old had 66 touches and completed 93.5% of his 46 passes (all stats via Transfermarkt). The “accidental goal” in the 74th minute—that made it 4-0—aside, Sané also provided the assist that led to Serge Gnabry’s goal in the 68th minute—it was Bayern’s third goal of the evening.
Sané was crucial in what was a five-star performance by Bayern Munich. In fact, the 25-year-old has been fantastic in recent weeks. The key has been new head coach Julian Nagelsmann.
“It’s important for every person, for every footballer, to have a clear head,” Nagelsmann said after the game. “It’s good just to let him do his thing. He plays more centrally with me than last year. That’s good for him; he has space there. He is an outstanding player with an excellent character.”
On paper, Sané has been playing on the left. But Alphonso Davies is not a typical left-back; instead, the Canadian likes to explore the space in the attacking third, relying on his speed to make up for his defensive shortcomings. It also means that Sané can play more centrally, often overlapping his runs with Davies.
The combination play with Davies on the left has done wonders for the German national team winger this season. Sané has now scored four goals and seven assists in just ten games for Bayern Munich this season, slowly justifying the $49.5 million that Rekordmeister invested in the former Manchester City star in the summer of 2020.
That fee and poor performances last season led Bayern Munich fans and large parts of the media to voice their criticism over the transfer. Sané’s significant wages were another matter, especially as Bayern struggled to keep some of their best players over the summer.
“That’s no good for anyone, no matter which sport,” Sané said when asked by DAZN about being whistled by the supporters in Bayern’s 3-2 victory over 1.FC Köln earlier this season. “I didn’t perform well; I know that. I wanted to give something back now.”
Sané has undoubtedly started to give back, which is good news for both Bayern Munich and Germany supporters. The winger will be crucial for Bayern’s attempt to produce another treble-winning season and for national team coach Hansi Flick, who is looking to impact the World Cup next winter.
Manuel Veth is the editor-in-chief of the Futbolgrad Network and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth