While continuously smiling, Sadio Mane seemed far from satisfied.
“There are things I need to improve,” Bayern’s new arrival said after his new club secured its first trophy of the 2022-23 season, the German Super Cup.
After helping Bayern beat league rival RB Leipzig 5-3, the 2022 African Footballer of the Year wasn’t talking about his and his team’s sporting performance, but his progress in learning German.
“I have many teachers, but normal things don’t always work perfectly from the start,” the Senegal international said.
While the way to fluent German seems bumpy, the 30-year-old’s on-pitch value for the reigning German champions seems evident.
The striker might have presented the highest jump of his career after scoring his first goal and Bayern’s second against Leipzig in the 31st minute.
“It’s a great relief to win a title in your first game,” the former Liverpool star stated.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke about Mane’s performance as a blessing “for our game as he comes along with paramount skills when we talk about his pressing efforts.”
While the new arrival’s achievements in his language classes understandably remain limited after only a few weeks, his effects on Bayern’s attempts to replace Robert Lewandowski couldn’t be greater.
In the wave of Bayern’s most important transfer this summer, the club’s established forwards seem to flourish unexpectedly well.
Next to Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry, Bayern youngster Jamal Musiala was his team’s man of the match, delivering what his coach called “a world-class performance.”
Bayern’s four-man front line surprisingly quickly adopted the new tactical system without a main striker.
Constantly changing positions, the Bavarians gained game dominance and only lost control for 20 minutes in the second half.
A pleased crowd of Bayern supporters witnessed the award ceremony while Mane triggered new expectations about this season’s achievements.
“Of course, we talk of the Champions League when speaking about titles we want to win,” Mane commented, before mentioning how happy he was with his performance in the curtain raiser.
It might not be a surprise that the club’s marketing section announced that sales figures of Mane’s replica shirts had reached new heights, outpacing those of his teammates.
Fans not only cherish Mane’s output but his modest character. “You never have the feeling of talking to a superstar, but with one of your buddies,” Nagelsmann said.
The Bayern coach announced plans to rely on Mane’s vast experience “as he is someone knocking at your door to suggest improvements.”
The striker, meanwhile, assured German media that he would not only increase his sporting efforts, but also his language skills. ■