According to a training ground report by Bild, Leroy Sane may be way down low on the Bayern Munich pecking order. Julian Nagelsmann usually has his players play against each other in an A-team vs a B-team scenario, and Sane was seen playing with the B-team this week.
While this shouldn’t come as a surprise, it is telling that Sane can’t make the “main” XI in training even when Serge Gnabry is out with injury. Bayern’s #7 had to be subbed off early in the game against Wolfsburg due to adductor issues, and Sane was the one who came on. The training ground pecking order shows that, if Kingsley Coman had been available for selection (he was serving a red card suspension), Sane might not have gotten the opportunity to play.
The other members of the A-team seem set in stone — Thomas Muller, Sadio Mane, and Jamal Musiala are all practically un-droppable. This leaves a three-way fight between Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, and Leroy Sane for that fourth attacker spot. Coman spent the first two games of the season out with a red card, which gives the advantage to Gnabry. However, the latter’s injury once again hands the initiative back to the Frenchman, who can expect a start against Bochum this Saturday.
Where does this leave Sane? His position in the team seems rather difficult at the moment. Gnabry is having an excellent start to the season, and Coman seems to have the coach’s trust.
Sane will have to play his way back into contention through substitute appearances, likely in a game state where Bayern are winding down and no longer attacking as much. It’ll be harder for him to show his quality in these scenarios.
Meanwhile, Nagelsmann has promised fewer changes to the lineup this season, so Sane may find starting opportunities hard to come by. Reports indicate that the coach won’t rotate until midweek games, so Sane could be left waiting a long time for an actual starting XI appearance. Climbing up the pecking order won’t be easy.
It should be noted that this issue isn’t exclusive to Sane. You could also say the same about some of Bayern’s new arrivals this summer. Matthijs de Ligt and Noussair Mazraoui were ostensibly bought for the starting XI, but their counterparts have been performing at an extremely high level to kick off the season. Like Bayern’s beleaguered #10, they have their work cut out convincing the coach to give them minutes.