Sadio Mane: Senegalese star expected to succeed at Bayern Munich

Sadio Mane lifts German Super Cup with Bayern Munich
Sadio Mane has already helped Bayern Munich win the German Super Cup, scoring in a 5-3 win over RB Leipzig

A Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup winner for Liverpool, Sadio Mane is now starting a new chapter in his career at Bayern Munich.

The 30-year-old striker, who joined the German giants for £35m after six years at Anfield, has 120 goals in 269 appearances.

Mane was key to Senegal’s victory in the Africa Cup of Nations in February, scoring on his debut for Bayern. Bavarian club wins German Super Cup last Saturday.

Former Nigeria international Efan Ekoku has backed Mane to adapt to the Bundesliga and is a favourite for the six-time European champions.

“I think as a top player and professional player he will definitely be successful at Bayern,” Ekocu told BBC Sport Africa.

“He made a good choice. If you’re going to leave a big club like Liverpool, if you’re still at the pinnacle of power, then you have to choose wisely.

“In the last 40 to 50 years, Mane has finished at Bayern and gone to a club as legendary as Liverpool. His chances of being successful in the Bundesliga at Bayern are just as great, if not more.”

After stints at Metz, Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton, Mane moved to Liverpool in 2016 and went on to score 90 Premier League goals for the Reds, finishing with 23 in all competitions his final season.

Does Mane need time to rest at Bayern?

Mane told BBC Sport Africa last month that he was leaving Liverpool to seek a new challenge, with him expected to make his Bundesliga debut against Frankfurt on Friday night.

However, despite his growth and extraordinary success in England, former DRC captain Gabriel Zakuani expects Mane will have to adapt to Germany’s new system.

“We know Mane is a workhorse – he has the ability to match it – but it will be difficult for him,” Zakuani told BBC Sport Africa.

“I think it might be a different challenge for him because at Liverpool he has a system position because he has everyone working hard with him.

“At Bayern Munich, things are completely different – they have a different style, so it might be difficult for him to fit in, but Mane is the type of player who likes to learn.

“We’ve seen how he’s changed after Southampton and how he’s become a world star. Now he’s going to Bayern as a big player, so I hope he’ll end up doing well, but maybe give him a little time to sleep.”

However, Ekoku believes that adjusting to life in Bavaria should be no problem for Mane.

“If Mane has scored 18-20 goals in the league for Liverpool over the last four or five years, and has scored 25+ goals in all competitions, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be hitting those numbers in the Bundesliga,” the 55-year-old- – Said the former Norwich City striker.

“It will be tough because it will take a while for him to adapt. I think he should adapt well to the environment.

“Mane is a contender, he’s a real fighter. I have no doubts about him.”

Replacing Bayern legend Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski for Barcelona
Robert Lewandowski, who spent eight years at Bayern Munich, became the second-highest scorer in their history before joining Barcelona

The 2021-22 season has been a successful one for Mane as he won the Copa del Rey with Senegal before helping Liverpool win the League Cup and FA Cup, as well as finishing runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.

He will replace Robert Lewandowski at Bayern with Poland international Sealed move to Spanish giants Barcelona.

But Zakuani thinks Reigning African Men’s Player of the Year Quite different from the 33-year-old Pole, who has scored 344 goals in 374 appearances at the Allianz Arena.

“I don’t think Mane has played more wide, but he has a good scoring record against Liverpool recently.

“Going into the Bundesliga, they might expect him to contribute most of the goals because of the transfer fee, because a lot of German clubs won’t pay that.”

Ekoku, the first player to score more than three goals in the Premier League and the first African to score a hat-trick in the league, agrees.

“I don’t think it’s a direct exchange. I don’t think there are many players like Lewandowski in world football,” he said.

“But I think (Bayern coach) Julian Nagelsmann is looking for a different type of Bayern attack anyway. We’ve all seen him at Leipzig. So it could be to build a smaller mobile striker and have players like Mane, and [Serge] Gnabry and [Leroy] Sane, who is interchangeable.

“I think that’s the way Bayern are going. If you want a younger Lewandowski now, no one can say who it is.

“They’re looking to the future, Mane is a few years younger than Lewandowski, so Bayern’s attack will be more fluid – and Mane fits perfectly in style.”

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