Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Bayern Munich - Kane, Sané & Mané

Harry Kane at Bayern Munich (via Sports Mole)

Now that he's finally completed his move from Spurs, might Harry Kane be forgiven, at least in private, for wondering whether he's actually swapped being the figurehead of possibly England's most fractious club (in terms of behind the scenes chaos) for their German equivalents? Given what's gone on at Bayern Munich immediately prior to his much- heralded arrival.

 



Consider for starters the story of the man brought into the Allianz Arena from Liverpool just last summer. Sadio Mané came, mostly disappointed and then jumped ship to Al Nassr after just seven goals in 25 appearances. Plus, of course, a suspension for an alleged punch-up with Leroy Sané in the aftermath of the Champions League defeat to Manchester City, probably the lowest of many points during his brief spell in another famous red shirt.



How did it all go so wrong so quickly is probably the first question worth pondering. His PR manager, Bacary Cisse, pulled no punches in declaring that it wasn't purely a footballing move to ship him off to Saudi Arabia-



“They never called the player's representatives. They never told Sadio face-to-face that they wanted to get rid of him. They just sent (Thomas) Tuchel to tell him that he will be a third choice left winger. Sadio has nothing to prove to the Germans. He didn't become what he's become thanks to Bayern. It was thanks to Liverpool. Bayern were ungrateful. They were paying an African all this money, and that hurt them.

 

He was professional until the end. But the people in charge at Bayern weren't fair. They first leaked to the media they were ready to sell him for €20m (£17.3m). But after he returned to training and they saw he was doing well, they raised the price to €30m (£25.9m).”



And what of the people in charge themselves, the club having dismissed former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn as CEO in May, with the former holder of the position, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, now back as a member of the club's supervisory board. Kahn's former team-mate Hasan Salihamidžić was also ushered out as sporting director...



Perhaps the first sign that something was really wrong was the fallout from the eventual dismissal of Thomas Tuchel's predecessor, Julian Nagelsmann, after an expensive courtship. It had taken £21.7 million to convince RB Leipzig to let him go.



After he'd agreed a five year contract to replace Hansi Flick, who went on to take the German national job, his tenure started with a 1-1 league draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach. This being prior to his first trophy, sweeping aside Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup. Coincidentally, his former team put Bayern to the sword in the curtain raiser to the new Bundesliga season, with Kane among the substitutes the very same day his move went through on August 12th.



Just five league defeats all season was rightly impressive enough to ensure Nagelsmann ended the first season of what Bayern had probably hoped would be a long association, with a league title. However, Villarreal dumped them out of the Champions League at the quarter-final hurdle, whilst they were humiliated by Mönchengladbach in the second round of the DFB-Pokal.



It looked like his second season would start where he'd left off, when thumping Eintracht 6-1 on the opening day, after a second Super Cup victory, over his old employers. With Mané scoring the second goal in a 5-3 romp to introduce himself post-Anfield.

 

Yet, soon after a loss at Bayer Leverkusen on March 19th, with Bayern just a point behind Dortmund in the Bundesliga table, Nagelsmann was out and Thomas Tuchel welcomed back to Germany following his dismissal by Chelsea.



And as with Mané, it seems the decision to part ways with the highly-rated former Leipzig gaffer wasn't entirely for on-field reasons!



His decision to depart for a skiing trip with his girlfriend during the subsequent international break is said to have angered his bosses, then-sporting director Salihamidžić fuming after the game...



"That wasn't what Bayern Munich means. We missed everything. We let ourselves be overrun by a team that was still playing on Thursday. Bayer was better in every respect. I've rarely experienced so little drive, so little mentality, so little duel, so little assertiveness. This team is so good when they have a mentality from the start and go 100 per cent.

 

But [they can be] just as bad when they don't do it and think that they can do everything with [their] quality. We were inferior in all areas. Confidence or not, we have to bring [our] mentality and greed to the pitch. This is a championship [race]."



Agreeing to take the reins immediately, Tuchel did himself no harm in proving himself far from an April fool in leading his new charges to a 4-2 win over Dortmund on the first of that month, to leapfrog them into first place.

 

There was just one defeat from his nine league games in charge- Leipzig perhaps avenging the fallen architect of much of their early, relative success with a 3-1 away win in the penultimate match of the season. Even then the title was decided on goal difference via Jamal Musiala's late winner away at FC Koln, as nearest challengers Dortmund were held to a draw at home to Mainz and blew the chance to end the Bayern title streak.



And no doubt they'll hope for more of the same in this new campaign, now that their dogged pursuit of England's captain has paid off. Spurs, and by extension Daniel Levy, most likely reluctant to risk losing him for free next summer, and the player keen to win the sort of silverware his talent has long justified. An assist for former victim of Mané's fist, Sané, and a goal of his own on his league début away at Werder Bremen, was the ideal start for the new most expensive buy in Bundesliga history at 100 million Euros.



Though those he's left behind at White Hart Lane might be smarting if they've had time to read too much into what he said afterwards!



"It was great to be honest. The fans from both sides were incredible the whole game... really different to some of the Premier League atmospheres I've experienced. Of course our away fans were amazing, but credit to their fans as well. They were great. So I really enjoyed my experience, and I'm just happy that we came away with the win."



A thank you for his warm willkommen, or subtly sticking das boot into Spurs from a safe distance?

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