A Bayern fright becomes a Bayern professional: stories and numbers about Sadio Mané – who almost ended up in the Bundesliga.
Always looked good against Bayern: Sadio Mané, here against Manuel Neuer, in the RB Salzburg jersey and with Jürgen Klopp.
imago images (3)
Mané has hurt Julian Nagelsmann twice. In the Champions League play-offs 2017/18, thanks to Mané, Liverpool clearly prevailed against Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheimer (2: 1 / 4: 2), Mané especially excelled in the first leg. When they met again in the 2020/21 round of 16 against Nagelsmanns Leipziger, he scored in both the first and second leg (2-0 each).
Mané almost ended up in Dortmund in 2014. “I don’t know exactly why I didn’t sign him back then,” said Jürgen Klopp later about this “mistake”. “I like the player, it was more of a feeling. About three months later I could have beaten myself for that.” Instead, BVB brought Shinji Kagawa back from Manchester United, Mané moved from Salzburg to Southampton.
Mané is an offensive all-rounder. In his first Liverpool season he played on the right, but switched to the left permanently after Mohamed Salah’s arrival in 2017 and has recently been used repeatedly as a central striker. “He’s world class in both positions,” says Klopp.
Mané’s departure from Salzburg is noisy
Adi Hütter suspended Mané in 2014. Just before the important Champions League play-off second leg in Malmö, Mané does not feel able to train and does not appear for a conversation that was then scheduled. Sports director Ralf Rangnick and coach Hütter foam (“Disciplineless!”) and remove him from the squad. Salzburg misses the premier class, Mané gets his way: he moves to Southampton.
Klopp regretted his first celebration with Mané. In Liverpool’s 4-3 win at Arsenal on Matchday 1 of the 2016/17 season, Reds debutant Mané scored to make it 4-1 in the meantime – Klopp then gave him a piggyback ride on the sidelines. The coach therefore takes it on his cap that Arsenal will come back afterwards: “It’s not allowed to celebrate like I did.”
Mané scored the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history. In Southampton’s 6-1 win against Aston Villa on May 16, 2015, he scored three times within 176 seconds (13th/14th/16th) – as an attacking midfielder, by the way.
Mané is about to take part in the second World Cup, the first ended tragically
Mané is not a penalty expert. Although he shot Senegal in penalties against Egypt in 2022 for the Africa Cup of Nations triumph (he missed in regular time) and for the World Cup in Qatar, he missed his only two Premier League penalties – once against (2016), once for Liverpool (2018). Klopp later blamed himself for being the only Liverpool player to miss out on penalties in the 2022 FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Mané’s only appearance at the World Cup ends tragically. Senegal are eliminated from the group stage in Russia 2018 due to their lower fair play rating than Japan. After all, Mané scored his first World Cup goal in a 2-2 win against Japan. In 2022 he will be back with Senegal, then the Netherlands, Ecuador and hosts Qatar are waiting.
Mané played twice in the Allianz Arena – and scored twice. In 2017 he scored the opening goal in the Audi Cup semi-finals at Liverpool 3-0 over Bayern, in 2019 – with even more consequences – in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 he scored a brace (3-1). But he was Bayern fright much earlier.
Mané spoiled Pep Guardiola’s 43rd birthday. On January 18, 2014, Salzburg beat Guardiola’s Bayern Munich team 3-0 in a friendly, Mané was involved in all three goals. “I felt sorry for the Bayern defenders that day – there was no stopping him,” team-mate Ramalho later recalled.
Mané has not forgotten his homeland. The street footballer has already financed a hospital, a school and a mosque in his hometown of Bambali in south-west Senegal. In this hangs a picture of his father, who was an imam and died when Mané was eleven.
Mané didn’t first learn counter-pressing under Klopp. Under Roger Schmidt, his first coach in Salzburg, he made a big leap forward tactically. “He had a great influence on my career,” says Mané about Schmidt. “I learned a lot about tactics.”
Mané has scored at least ten times in each of his Premier League seasons. Overall, after eight seasons for Southampton and Liverpool, he has 111 goals in 263 games, and in 2019 he was top scorer with 22 goals. Only Harry Kane has also scored ten or more times in the past eight Premier League seasons.