Since his substitution in the 32nd minute, Leroy Sané was not yet ready for the international play, but this counterattack shortly before the break was suitable to raise his reputation: He had shaken off the two opponents like detective Rockford, the crook at the red light He accelerated in fifth gear, drove the ball through the center into the opposing half and now had a bouquet of options against the Leverkusen shortfall: play in three variants or go yourself.
Sané opted for a pass to Serge Gnabry, which wasn’t the bravest, but not the worst, idea either. But wherever he led the pass, not even the shadow of Gnabry could be seen. The ball rolled smoothly out of bounds, and its creator dropped his shoulders in disappointment.
When Karl-Heinz Rummenigge found on the TV program “Doppelpass” the next day that the 24-year-old attacker had “not yet arrived at this Bayern gene”, it was neither about this stray end of a promising counterattack nor the other failed actions that evening, which resulted in an overall bad performance. It’s about the big picture: about the aspiration and ability of the national player to be a Bayern player.
“If we change, we have to make it sensible”
Hansi Flick provided the occasion for the fundamental debate by taking Sané, who was substituted on in the 32nd minute, off the field in the 68th minute. For this radical coaching decision, there is the term “maximum penalty” in football, which is used just as automatically as the word “flawless” if a player scores three goals in a row within one half. In the case of Sané one could even speak of a flawless maximum penalty. The fact that Flick, of all people, who valued human closeness, had decided to do so caused a stir. Men like Felix Magath and Rolf Schafstall have been responsible for such unscrupulous acts in German football.
Before he went into the dressing room, Sané said goodbye to his trainer with a handshake. But soon he came out again, took a seat in the stands and watched the rest of the game. After the final whistle, Sané did not forget to make the detour to the Leverkusener Bank and pay fair greetings there. When it came to questions of style on this evening, which was completely unfamiliar to Sané (“I didn’t know that before”), there was only one thing to complain about: that he placed his feet on the back of the front seat in the stands, and that he was wearing Adiletten .
According to Hansi Flick, the process was nothing more than a strategic move for the purpose of winning. “Why maximum penalty? If we change, we have to make it sensible,” he said. Thomas Müller was not up for discussion as a candidate for the desired substitution of Jamal Musiala (“indispensable”), Robert Lewandowski anyway not, and Serge Gnabry played significantly better in the second half than in the first (“enormous increase”). “Therefore,” said Flick, “the Leroy option” remained.
Indeed, Sané had not made himself indispensable. Rummenigge also countered the suspicion that Flick’s change policy was in fact to be understood as an educational measure: “I don’t think the coach wanted to educate the player – he wanted to win the game.” Nonetheless, the CEO gladly took the opportunity to remind the attacker, who was acquired in the summer for a considerable 50 million euros (plus X), of the principle of give and take: “We have to support him, but he has to challenge himself to get where he is he can come. “
Whether it is rather easy or rather difficult for Sané to find access to an almost perfectly functioning triple winning team, the maximum penalty case in Leverkusen does not provide an answer, at best an indication. The Upper Bavarians promised to grant time and patience. “He will take it, he will get all of our support,” said coach Flick. “The boy is great, I totally believe in him,” swore sports director Hasan Salihamidzic (who is responsible for the purchase). And when Thomas Müller caringly hugged the depressed Sané after the game, it looked like a picture from the ZDF romance on Sunday evening. Or maybe Müller just thanked him. The template for his cross to 1: 1 came from – Leroy Sané.