Leroy Sane is moving closer to a Manchester City exit this summer and a move to Bayern Munich. Last season, a move to Bayern was already talked about but it didn’t happen. Since then, Sane has damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Community Shield game against Liverpool. This is why he didn’t play this season.
Last summer, both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry brought their time at Bayern to an end. The German side have looked for their replacements for years and Sane might be the final step of this quest. Indeed, they have found their second winger in Serge Gnabry. This season, the German winger has been one of the best players in the world. He has scored 18 goals and provided 10 assists in 2,493 minutes of playing time with Bayern in all competitions.
However, with Sane edging closer to a move away from the Premier League, we will see how the winger can fit Bayern’s tactics. This tactical analysis in the form of a scout report will also look into what Sane can bring to any team before looking at how he would fit at Bayern.
Firstly, we need to understand why the 24 years old winger is wanted by Bundesliga’s reigning champions. This is why we will compare him to Bayern’s wingers through a statistical comparison where we will look at various advanced metrics. We took Sané’s 2018/19 season stats as he didn’t play this season due to his injury. We compared them with Bayern’s wingers’ stats from 2019/20.
As you can see above, Sané is second after Gnabry in terms of the end product. Although his expected contributions are the lowest, it has to be put into context. While it could be concerning, Sané has proved to be an outstanding finisher these past two years. Indeed, he has overperformed his expected goals for two years in a row whilst not overperforming his expected assists. It means his expected contributions are low compared to his actual contributions thanks to his finishing rather than thanks to his teammates.
About progressive runs, you can see that he is only third with Coman and Gnabry ahead of him. It still has to be put into context because of the way City are playing. A progressive run is a continuous ball control by one player attempting to draw the team significantly closer to the opponent goal. City like to sustain pressure close to their opponent’s goal so Sane has less space to run into.
On the other hand, Bundesliga teams like to play a higher line. There aren’t many low blocks. As a result, players have more space to run into than in the Premier League, which increases the number of progressive runs they will do.
Finally, you can see that the German forward is very effective at getting the ball into the penalty area with 61% of his passes finishing at the feet of his teammates. The joint-highest among Bayern forwards alongside Coutinho.
His dribbling ability
With Sané, Bayern would get one of the best dribblers in the world. Not only because he attempts a lot of dribbles per game but also because he has a variety of dribbling approaches.
Indeed, the German forward attempted 7.79 dribbles per 90 minutes with 52% accuracy last season. Although his accuracy is just slightly above 50%, he is the kind of player who can create something out of nothing.
His most valuable trait when he dribbles are his body feints. The German forward has mastered the art of decoy feints which allow him to dribble past his opponent.
As highlighted below, Sané is in a 1 vs 2 situation. He uses his first body feint to make the defender think he will go in the middle to then go on the outside and dribble past both by dribbling in-between them. This highlights Sané’s quick burst as well as his body feints.
The German forward is also able to perform a variety of actions after his dribbles. As a left-footer, the winger loves to dribble towards the sideline to make a low cross. This is very dangerous as he is often able to get time and space to perform his cross.
This is highlighted below. The 24-year-old dribbles pasts his opponent and finds himself in a 1 vs 0 to make the cross. Thanks to his dribble, his opponents have to come deeper in their own box and Manchester City will be able to overload it. It creates dangerous situations everywhere in the box.
But if the forward was only able to perform one type of dribble, he wouldn’t be as unpredictable as he is. Indeed, Sané can also act as an inside forward. He will come into the half-space and use his dribbling technique to either create a shot for himself or assist his teammates.
This is highlighted below. He sees s-ace in between three Shakhtar players and decides to dribble past them to take a shot at goal.
All in all, his dribbling ability makes him unpredictable for his opponents. He is the kind of player who can win you a game on his own thanks to his talent. He is fast and skilled. His body feints are devastating and make him a great asset for sides who want to fight for the biggest accolades.
Offensive movement and positioning
Leroy Sané is a very interesting case as he has been bought by Manchester City thanks to his performances on the right-wing. However, Pep Guardiola decided to play him on the left-wing at Manchester City. Whilst Sané was tasked to cut inside at Schalke, he is tasked to keep the width at City.
This is highlighted in the picture below.
Whilst he is able to keep the width, the German winger can still run in behind to score goals or provide assists. The way he times and makes his runs is a testament to his football intelligence. Indeed, you can’t wait for your teammate to pass the ball to you to make your run. You have to make the run in the first place if you want to receive the ball in the right timing.
To not be offside, Sané takes a little step away from his opponent until his teammate notices that the German forward is making a run. When he does it, Sané makes sure to go beyond the field of view of his opponent to get the time to receive the ball and make something happen. If he doesn’t go beyond the field of view of his opponent, he might be caught by the defender and engage in a duel. Sané is smart enough to know this.
This is highlighted below. He is able to find space behind the opponent’s backline. He times his run perfectly to receive a through ball from David Silva. He is able to control the ball and score.
Sané can create space for his teammates by keeping the width but he can also score goals when he makes his runs in behind. He does this from the left-wing, where he has played for the most part since coming to City.
But as we already stated, Sané was playing on the right for Schalke and he is still playing on the right for City occasionally. His ability to cut inside and shoot from outside the box makes him a very dangerous player on the right-wing.
Since his transfer to Manchester City, Sané has only scored two league goals from outside the box. Both came from the right. His ability to shoot from there is a big asset for his team. Indeed, when he cuts in, he will attract opponents towards him. He will free the space for his right-back to overlap and Sane will either take his chance or make the pass to his full-back.
Thanks to his time at Manchester City, Sané has learned how to play on the left. Whilst he was originally a right-winger, the German forward can now perform at a very high level on both wings. Any team who want a versatile winger who can interchange in-game or according to the opponent should look into Sané.
Bayern’s offensive structure
Since Hansi Flick has been appointed as Bayern manager, he decided to implement a 4-2-3-1 with positional play. The positional play comes down to giving the offence a set of guidelines to play within a structured scheme. The playing field is divided into specific zones and two teammates can’t be in the same zone at the same time.
The picture below highlights how it is applied during the game. Gnabry is coming in the middle. By doing so, he accomplishes two things. Firstly, his left-back will be able to drive forward if he receives the ball as Gnabry decided to make room for him on the left-wing. Then, Gnabry opens a passing lane by coming infield. With one move, Bayern will have more passing options for their ball progression.
Bayern are also working with attacking triangles. Below, there are multiple triangles created.
Those triangles will achieve two things. Firstly, triangles help ball progression. Indeed, if you have more solutions to pass the ball to, you will be able to find your teammates much more easily. But, it isn’t the only thing that will be achieved.
As Bayern players are close to each other, they can perform counter-pressing when they lose the ball. It will help them not being exposed defensively despite committing many players forward. We can see that both Bayern’s most advanced forwards are running in behind Chelsea’s backline. It will force Chelsea defenders to follow them and come deeper. Therefore, if one of the Bayern players receive the ball in midfield, they will have more space to find one of the teammates in a more advanced position.
Finally, we will talk about how Bayern’s most advanced players change positions when Bayern have the ball. Wingers often drop deep to draw a player when the full-back on their side has the ball. Thomas Müller will often go into this vacated space to receive the ball or stretch the opponent’s backline. If the full-back decides to pass it to his winger then the winger will need to have the technical ability to turn and find a pass forward.
Sané will be interesting in this role of dropping deep as he is already accustomed to it at City and has the required technical abilities to act as such.
We just established that Bayern wingers can find themselves in the half-spaces while full-backs are providing width. They can also provide width while the full-backs take the underlap. This is highlighted below. Once again, Bayern’s positional play is showing. Indeed, nobody is in their teammate’s area so they can find passing lanes very easily.
As already established, Sané can either provide width to let his full-backs take the underlap or play in the half-spaces to let his full-back take the overlap. His versatility will fit right in Bayern’s offensive setup.
Wingers have to be versatile enough to play on both wings. The best example of it is Gnabry. The German forward has played 1693 minutes on the right and 667 minutes on the left for 11 goal contributions on the right and 15 goal contribution on the left. As you can deduce, he is better on the left but had to play on the right due to Coman’s repetitive injuries.
With a new winger coming in, he will finally be able to play in his favoured position while Bayern will still enjoy his versatility. Sané would fit this profile as he has played on the right-wing at Schalke and on the left-wing at Manchester City. His versatility would allow him to interchange with Gnabry during games and it would be hard for opponents to deal with both.
Adding onto his versatility, Sané has been accustomed to Manchester City’s positional play. Thanks to this, he will already know that he has to play for his teammates before playing for himself. It makes him the perfect fit for this Bayern side.
Both Manchester City and Bayern Munich want to dominate games and have possession of the ball. They don’t want to come deep in their own half. This is why they adopt a high press. Once they have lost the ball, they try to recover it within five or 10 seconds. As a result, their PPDA (Passes allowed Per Defensive Actions) is amongst the lowest in their respective leagues. Bayern’s PPDA this season is 7.71 and City’s PPDA last season was 8.45.
Now, we will focus on Sané’s defensive work-rate compared to Bayern wingers. As highlighted below, Sané isn’t making as many pressure as other Bayern forwards but this is a very marginal difference. On the other hand, he has a success rate of 34%, which is very good for a winger. These figures show us that Sané won’t be a liability without the ball for Bayern.
Finally, we will look at how Sané is pressing. Playing in a Pep Guardiola side has its advantages. He is always watching out for little details. When it comes to off the ball pressure, this is about body orientations.
As seen above, the German forward doesn’t only step out to pressure his opponent. He is coming from the left and closing the passing lane towards the wide area. As a result, the Hoffenheim player doesn’t have any solutions since Sane’s teammates are closing the middle of the pitch. Hoffenheim will eventually lose the ball.
Throughout this analysis, we have seen that Bayern need a versatile forward who has the talent to take a team on his back to win a game from time to time. He also has to be able to create for himself and his teammates. Leroy Sané definitely falls into this category. He can play on both wings at a very high level. Bayern are also lacking a left-footed forward. Sané would suit them perfectly.
Furthermore, the German forward won’t take too long to adapt. Indeed, he is already used to playing in the Bundesliga thanks to his time at Schalke and in a possession-based style at City. At Manchester City, he played in a system based on positional play where everyone was playing for each other. As we have seen when we talked about their setup, it is the same at Bayern.
All in all, Sané would fit like a glove at Bayern and he could be the final piece to one of the best forward lines in the world.
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