For the first time since 2013, Bayern Munich will begin the Bundesliga season without Robert Lewandowski in attack.
After a goal-laden eight seasons together, Die Roten parted ways with their iconic attacker this summer.
The 33-year-old scored 238 times in 253 league games, earning seven top scorer awards in the process.
Ahead of tonight’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt, we look at how Julian Nagelsmann may replace the vacuum left by the prolific Poland international.
Sadio Mane left Liverpool for Bayern Munich this summer, joining Germany’s most successful team in a move worth £35 million.
The 30-year-old scored in the DFL-Supercup triumph over RB Leipzig on Saturday after starting as a center forward.
He made it his own for Liverpool in the second half of the 2021-22 season.
His shift in position corresponded with an improvement in form, and there is a case to be made that the Senegalese speedster was Jurgen Klopp’s most crucial player at the season’s finish.
If the team from last weekend is any indication, Mane will be leading the line and scoring goals.
Finding a direct replacement for Lewandowski was always going to be impossible.
However, Mane was part of a Liverpool attacking unit that was not overly reliant on a single player.
The African Cup of Nations champion will be vital to Bayern as they attempt to replace their old No9, and Nagelsmann lauded his new forward following their win over Leipzig.
He stated: “[Mane] delivered an outstanding performance. He is a grounded and humble player. He’s great for us — and not only in the locker room. He possesses exceptional abilities and is an exceptional individual.
“[Jamal] Musiala played a great game and worked hard. He has become more defensive. Today, that was world-class. [Leroy] Sane is a wonderful person and a fantastic footballer, and he scored a fantastic goal.”
The future has arrived.
Mane is not Bayern’s only new signing this summer.
Mathys Tel has joined the club from Rennes, with the German champions spending £25 million for the 17-year-old.
He made his Ligue 1 debut last season but failed to score in seven competitive games before swapping clubs.
However, Nagelsmann has a history of giving youth a chance, so expect the young forward to see some first-team action this season.
The Frenchman will be able to learn from players such as Mane, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman in order to improve his game.
Hasan Salihamidzic, Bayern Munich’s sporting director, stated: “Mathys Tel is one of Europe’s most promising young players, a swift, technically strong, and flexible attacker. This year, as captain of the France Under-17s, he won the European Championship.
“We’ve been following him for a long time and were able to persuade him to take his next vital steps with us now in Munich.”
There must have been a sense of security among Bayern’s players with Lewandowski in the lineup.
When things were not going well, he would usually appear with a critical goal.
However, with Barcelona’s new frontman no longer residing at the Allianz Arena, there is a potential for others to take on additional responsibilities and truly establish themselves as crucial players for Nagelsmann.
Gnabry is one of these players, having signed a four-year contract deal with the club lately.
He set a career high with 14 Bundesliga goals last season and will look to improve on that this season as FCB seeks an 11th consecutive title.