Bayern has 17m new fans, Mane says
Club less predictable after change
Published: Aug 03, 2022 06:13 PM
Bayern Munich's Senegalese forward Sadio Mane (right) vies for the ball during the German Supercup soccer match between RB Leipzig and FC Bayern Munich in Leipzig, Germany on July 30, 2022. Photo: AFP

Bayern Munich's Senegalese forward Sadio Mane (right) vies for the ball during the German Supercup soccer match between RB Leipzig and FC Bayern Munich in Leipzig, Germany on July 30, 2022. Photo: AFP

Star Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane has wasted no time fitting in with his new teammates, revealing he brought his own lederhosen with him to the Bavarian capital in the summer of 2022.

Speaking with Bayern Munich's Member magazine 51 in an interview published Tuesday, Mane said he had held onto a pair of traditional leather trousers given to him in his time at Red Bull Salzburg in the hope of one day wearing them at Munich's famous Oktoberfest.

"Unfortunately not yet, but I'm really looking forward to it," Mane said when asked if he had ever made an appearance at the 222-year old festival.

"I even have lederhosen at home from my time in Salzburg. I kept them because I always liked wearing them and I'm generally very interested in other cultures."

"I've actually been to the city [Munich] several times, with friends. And once we were at the Allianz Arena, at a Champions League game against Arsenal. At that time, I simply couldn't imagine playing there myself one day."

Mane, 30, will not only feature front and center when Bayern Munich make their annual pilgrimage to the festival in September 2022, but he has already shown how crucial he will be to the German record champions' on-field plans in 2022-23.

Mane scored a goal in Bayern's 5-3 Super Cup win over RB Leipzig on Saturday, his first competitive outing for the club. His arrival in Munich has helped assuage the fears of Bayern fans worried about the departure of Robert Lewandowski as the club pushes for a record-extending 11th straight Bundesliga title.

The two-time African Player of the Year sent out a stark warning after the game, saying Bayern "can do better" despite lifting their tenth Super Cup trophy.

"It's only the beginning of the season. We still have time to work towards perfection."

The Senegalese scored 120 goals in 269 appearances for Liverpool, where he won several trophies including the Champions League and Premier League.

His knack for scoring crucial goals in big games - including a stunning swivel kick past Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to help see Liverpool past Bayern in 2019 - will come in handy as Munich look to replace Lewandowski's stellar output in front of goal.

The Pole scored 344 in 375 games over eight seasons for Bayern, although Munich believe Lewandowski's departure could be a blessing in disguise.

'Mia san mia' 

Coach Julian Nagelsmann said 2022's Bayern were "a little harder to work out" than previous incarnations, while CEO Oliver Kahn said Mane's arrival made the club less predictable.

"You could see how many opportunities we had - [and] how surprising we can be."

Mane leant heavily on the advice of former Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara, his teammate at Liverpool, when deciding to make the move to the Bundesliga.

"Before my transfer, I spoke with Thiago. He told me everything about the team and the city. Everyone knows Bayern's identity."

"For me, this 'Mia san mia' [Bayern Munich's motto 'we are who we are'] means that the team always comes first. It's the togetherness that counts, not the individual. That's what makes FC Bayern so special."

Not only has Mane brought with him blistering pace, a constant goal threat and experience at the game's highest levels, but Bayern's new number 17 has swelled Munich's supporter ranks by around 17 million.

"My country is made up of 17 million football mad people and they're all Bayern fans now," Mane said.

"I think you'll see a lot of Senegal flags in the Allianz Arena this season," he added.

Bayern Munich kick off the 60th Bundesliga season on Friday night away at Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt.