Mané as Mia-san-mia-Booster: The resurrection of the world club FC Bayern

Mané as a Mia-san-mia booster
The resurrection of the world club FC Bayern

By Tobias Nordman

In the first half of 2022, FC Bayern was not who it wanted to be. In the Bundesliga, Munich won the title again, but otherwise the club’s self-image had fallen apart. On and off the pitch. With Sadio Mané everything changes (for the time being).

In Gelsenkirchen, people are somewhat outraged. How can it be discussed whether Sadio Mané is the biggest star that the Bundesliga has ever bought (free transfer footballers are included in the evaluation in this case)? After all, the biggest star who has ever switched to Germany’s most popular sports league has played in the rocked-down, hard-working metropolis on the A42. His name: Raúl González Blanco! In terms of reputation and titles, the interjection from the Ruhr area is also wrong. Because there was still the brilliant strategist Xabi Alonso, the world champion, two-time European champion and Champions League winner.

Xabi Alonso played for Bayern Munich for three years from 2014. Just like Sadio Mané, who was presented in Munich on Wednesday. But whether Xabi Alonso or Raúl, there is a serious difference to Mané. The Senegalese is already 30 years old, but in the “shape of his life”, as ex-coach Jürgen Klopp just found out. When the two outstanding Spaniards conquered the Bundesliga, they were already past the best of their careers. Despite all the top performances. discussion doesn’t matter. For the people of Munich anyway. Next to the new world star sat men who almost burst with pride. President Herbert Hainer, club boss Oliver Kahn and sports director Hasan Salihamidžić had achieved something with the transfer that was not necessarily expected of them. And so they had done a rhetorical feat of joy, lifted every conceivable superlative. After years of sporting disarmament (still at a very high level), the bosses managed to make a real statement again.

Neither the national competition, and certainly not the international ones, should please think that FC Bayern has been the new benchmark for the past few weeks and months. Because he isn’t. That is the self-image that came home with Mané. The record champions are a world club and have risen from the chaos with the Senegalese. It was wild weeks that the club had to endure. And it has not yet been answered whether peace will return. Because goal giant Robert Lewandowski is still trying to break the chains and switch to FC Barcelona. Which levels of escalation can and want to ignite? Not clear.

A new conviction in Munich

The bosses don’t care for now. The day Mané officially became a Munich (footballer) they got their Mia-san-mia back. Confidence in the strength and radiance of the club. Every little faltering in the Lewandowski case will be cleared up this Wednesday. The “Basta” announcements, which had been denied vehemence, were underpinned. If you get a Mané, you can also hold a Lewandowski. This mute conviction filled the media room in the Allianz Arena during the nearly hour-long introductory show of the new superstar and beacon of hope. Mané is not only a master announcement to BVB, but above all a handle pot statement to the sheikh and super-rich clubs, who have recently seemed hasty, as well as to potential newcomers. “I know what that (Editor’s note: Mané obligation) within a team,” says Kahn. The footballers would “take a very close look: who does the club take, what transfers are possible, I have the opportunity to win the biggest thing in club football, the Champions League.”

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Was Xabi Alonso the biggest world star in the Bundesliga?

(Photo: imago/Sven Simon)

And of course in Munich they are completely inspired by the idea that Mané, at the peak of his career, can achieve great things together with Lewandowski for at least one more season, namely the return of FC Bayern to the most elite circle of European football. Above all, coach Julian Nagelsmann should now imagine himself in squad paradise. Lewandowski and Mané, plus Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané (despite all the mysterious fluctuations), Thomas Müller and top talent Jamal Musial, what a luxury offer.

But as great as the euphoria is, the construct remains shaky – should Lewandowski somehow force his change, for example via paragraph 17 of the Fifa statutes. This paragraph gives professional footballers a special right of termination if the following conditions are met: player contracts may therefore be concluded for a maximum of five years and can be terminated unilaterally by footballers after the age of 28 after three years and by older players after two years. The star striker meets these requirements and could therefore use the paragraph to his advantage, probably without expecting a ban.

How glorious will the offensive seven become?

But things are not that simple, as sports lawyer Christoph Schickhardt explained to the “Bild” newspaper a few weeks ago: “Basically, he can commit the aforementioned breach of the law. But whoever gets involved commits hara-kiri!” Fifa deliberately kept the consequences unpredictable. “She has a bouquet of sanctions in her hand. And you don’t know how many roses with how many thorns are in there.”

It is also unclear how Gnabry will continue. The winger is under contract at Säbener Straße until next summer. All attempts to tie him longer have so far apparently come to nothing. He himself looks at Real with shining eyes. Madrid as a place of longing. Another unfulfilled. The glorious offensive seven are still cavorting on Säbener Straße. But how many things they do together (if they all stay) will be one of the exciting stories of the coming season.

Luxury selection or potential for conflict?

The line between luxury selection and potential for conflict is thin. But it is exactly this path that the record champions want to enter after a meager second half of the season. New friction in the squad is the keyword. Salihamidžić says: “We deliberately wanted to stimulate competition in the team with Sadio Mané. It’s open from day one, even in training. Each player’s cards on the offensive are reshuffled. We consciously let that happen.” Kahn is also happy about “new stimulus points”. The record champions need “fresh blood” to drive out a “certain laziness after such a long run of success” from the pros. Other team departments were also pimped with the Amsterdam duo of Noussair Mazraoui (right-back) and Ryan Gravenberch (defensive midfield). With Konrad Laimer there could also be a “six”, a competitor for Joshua Kimmich.

The future Bayern squad, as of June 23, not only has power, but also appeal. He does not move away from European fantasies, but approaches them again. A strong argument in the market of giants, where Bayern need “creative solutions” (Salihamidžić quoted a few weeks ago) for their coups. Maybe also for a new defense chief? He is apparently still being sought after the major vulnerabilities of the past season. But the time window of the gigantic attraction of the boosted Munich could quickly close again. At the latest next summer, when Lewandowski will definitely leave (everything else seems impossible). But first there is world star euphoria. Should they be outraged in Gelsenkirchen, where Sebastian Polter has been the offensive king transfer so far!

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