Sadio Mane says he "will never forget" his time with Liverpool having made a move to Bayern Munich in the recent transfer window.

Mane joined the Reds from Southampton in 2016 and spent six successful years at the club, winning both the Premier League and the Champions League.

And while the 30-year-old now plies his trade in the Bundesliga, he says he will always have fond memories of playing for Liverpool.

"Honestly, I will never forget my time there," Mane told UEFA.com.

"I learned a lot – as a man and as a football player. The supporters were amazing, the people from the city were amazing. It is a club that will stay in my heart forever.

"It is also a legendary club – they have won everything. And also, it is the club that had all the best Champions League nights."

Mane cited the 2019 Champions League final win against Tottenham in Madrid as a particular highlight, adding: "I remember the second goal that Divock Origi scored very well. I was over the moon at that moment. I couldn't believe it.

"I just thought back to my childhood, when I was watching the Champions League. I found myself playing a final and, more importantly, winning it.

"It was amazing – 2019 was an outstanding year. The celebrations, the club, you just had to be there to understand. I think over half a million people were out in the streets waiting for us to parade our trophy. It was just beautiful."

The Senegal international has endured a mixed start to his Bayern career, scoring three in three league games to start the season but then going on a run of five appearances without a goal in all competitions before finally finding the net again in Friday's 4-0 thumping of Bayer Leverkusen.

And he admitted his move to Germany had not all been plain sailing so far, saying: "Switching from one club to another is not easy.

"I spent eight very nice years in England, six years at Liverpool [after] two at Southampton, and now I am in a new country. It is not easy because everything changes so suddenly, people, training, everything.

"Everything is changing so it is not easy at all. I need to adapt. I knew that and it came as no surprise. It is happening just the way I imagined it.

"People here are welcoming, and they're real players. People around the club are amazing so I am very happy.

"We have a very, very young squad. It's the first time in my career that I have been part of such a young group. What really stands out to me is that they're all hungry. They all want to develop and they're attentive too.

"Training sessions are as intense as the games. It's important as I think it makes a real difference and it shows. It’s so easy to play alongside these youngsters, who are massively talented and promising."

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann says he cannot help but "take every criticism to heart", after a poor recent run of form led to questions over his position.

A 1-0 defeat to Augsburg last time out made it four Bundesliga games without a victory, dropping them to fifth in the table.

Some feel Bayern's streak of winning 10 league titles in a row is under threat, with them sitting five points behind early leaders Union Berlin, and there is also talk of sacked Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel being a potential replacement for Nagelsmann if he was axed.

And Nagelsmann admitted he takes the negative assessments of him personally, telling reporters: "I take every criticism to heart. It's normal that the last two weeks have been tough.

"I am aware that I am not responsible for everything. I know that I invest a lot in the job. I claim to be an orderly person. Football is a very important part and an important passion for me. But it doesn't define me as a person."

Sadio Mane, brought in from Liverpool in the transfer window, is another Bayern man under fire, having scored three in three league games to start the season but failing to find the net in his last five for his new side in all competitions.

But his head coach is not worried about the Senegal international returning to form with his coaching staff's help, with Nagelsmann adding: "I have individual talks with all the players.

"In the end he has to help implement the plan, then he is a great support. In the end, it's the player's job to implement what the coach tells him to do.

"Then he will quickly find his way back to top form, I'm in good spirits. The performance is the responsibility of the coaching staff to get him where we want him to be."

Bayern are in action on Friday as they look to end their winless run, but will face a Bayer Leverkusen side who themselves are desperate for points, sat one place above the relegation zone having won just one league match this season.

Nagelsmann is expecting an improved performance from the defeat to Augsburg, commenting: "From my side, I expect that the players show what they're made of.

"I know that we haven't shown some things yet. It is still important to be brave. We still have to be aware that we are Bayern Munich.

"Leverkusen doesn't have an outstanding situation either, but it's a top game."

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has backed Sadio Mane to shine, expressing his empathy after his recent struggles with the Bundesliga champions.

The Senegal international arrived from Liverpool for a reported €32million fee and initially started strong in his new surroundings, scoring three goals in his opening three Bundesliga appearances.

However, a dip in goalscoring form for Mane has seen the forward fail to score in his last four league matches and has coincided with poor results for Bayern, who are without a win in those games.

Indeed, Mane's only goal in his last seven Bayern appearances came in a routine 5-0 win against Viktoria Koln in the DBF-Pokal at the end of August.

Salihamidzic is not concerned, however, identifying the struggles he himself went through after leaving Bayern for Juventus and backing Mane to excel this season.

"Sadio still needs a bit of time. He has to get used to the Bundesliga, but he will. I know how it is to join a new team, in another city, another country with another football culture," he told BILD.

"I joined Juventus at 30 years old. I had won the Champions League, Bundesliga and Pokal with Bayern, but even as an experienced successful player, you need a while to get used to your new environment in order to fully focus on football and perform consistently.

"Sadio is still in this process. Everything will soon be more familiar to him and we'll soon see it on the pitch.

"I speak regularly with him, but I also give him space. He has to organise himself in a way that he feels at home in Munich - he's doing that. Sadio is one of the best players in the world. He'll bring very good performances. We'll still have a lot of joy with him.

"Sadio plays for the team. His teammates can see that. They all know that Sadio is an important member of the group. They will help him because, when in top form, he helps us achieve our goals."

Bayern resume their campaign after the international break on Friday against Bayer Leverkusen, which is followed by a home match against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League and Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund.

Newcastle United are reportedly prepared to launch a third bid for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison in the January window.

Maddison, 24, has had a strong start to the season despite Leicester sitting bottom of the table through seven games, with the midfielder registering three goals and an assist.

Newcastle reportedly placed bids of £40million and £45m in the last window – which prompted manager Brendan Rodgers to say "that might just cover three-quarters of his left leg" – but January will mark 18 months remaining on his contract, with a voluntary extension looking extremely unlikely.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON OPEN TO NEWCASTLE UNITED MOVE

Maddison is said to be more open to the idea of leaving Leicester after failing to break back into the England setup for the World Cup, with his only international cap coming as a substitute during a win against Montenegro in 2020.

With Newcastle players Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier both being involved with the Three Lions, it is viewed as a more favourable situation to capture the attention of Gareth Southgate.

The report from The Times indicates Leicester do have the option to extend Maddison's contract by one extra season, which could give them the freedom to see out the remainder of the campaign.

However, if Newcastle are willing to move into the £60m range, that kind of spending power could fund some significant moves to address the Foxes' problems, and there is no guarantee his value will remain this high if they delay.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Spanish publication Beteve, Lionel Messi will refuse any contract extension and will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

– Kicker is reporting Tottenham's Harry Kane remains Bayern Munich's top target, and with only one more season left on his deal after this campaign, Tottenham could be forced to cash-in if he indicates he is ready to leave.

– Juventus will not renew the contracts of Angel Di Maria, Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot in order to reduce their wage bill, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

– Calciomercato is reporting Roma will join Bayern Munich and Manchester United with interest in €30m Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United are monitoring highly regarded Vasco da Gama 18-year-old Andrey Santos.

Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard has opened up on how he experienced depression during the coronavirus lockdown.

The France international explained in an interview with newspaper Le Parisien that isolation became a heavy burden and he sorely missed normal social contact.

Pavard, now 26, was in his first season with Bayern when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, having joined from Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart.

When players went into isolation in late March of 2020, Pavard said it became a challenge to stay positive.

He said: "It was difficult for everyone, for me too. To be alone, in a country other than mine, I was really not well. In my head, something was wrong.

"At the beginning, you tell yourself that it's nothing, that it will pass, but when you see that it persists, that you go to training and that you don't have a smile on your face, you have to react."

The Bundesliga became the first major league in Europe to resume, as it started up again in mid-May 2020, albeit behind closed doors.

Pavard sought and found support to help him through the trying times.

He said: "I am human like everyone else, and even if I have a super nice house with a weight room, I needed contact with others.

"I got up, I had no appetite. I tried to keep busy, to cook, to watch series. But Netflix is ​​fine for two minutes… I don't like the word depressive, but that was the case."

The former Lille player explained that he turned a corner and now feels "much better".

“I came out of all this as a man, it changed me," he said. "I was on my own like many football players and I had to surround myself well to raise my head. I managed to bounce back from difficult times."

Bayern Munich's honorary president Uli Hoeness has hit out at criticism of the World Cup being staged in Qatar.

Conditions for migrant workers are among the human rights issues that have been in the spotlight long before the tournament starts in November.

Hoeness is insistent that workers are "better and not worse off" with the country hosting the World Cup, however, and argues things are getting better in the nation compared to other Gulf states.

"The World Cup will lead to better working conditions for the people," he told Sport1.

"One thing is also clear, the workers in Qatar are better and not worse off through the World Cup. You should finally accept that and not constantly hit out at people on it.

"When the problem was in Afghanistan, the people were only flown out via Qatar. The World Cup, the commitment of Bayern and other sports activities in the Gulf region will lead to better working conditions for the people there.

"I have never heard criticism of Dubai, Kuwait etc. Only Qatar is being talked about. The only country where things are really getting better because this discussion is taking place is Qatar."

Bayern's own links with Qatar have been a source of frustration for many fans, leading to a hostile atmosphere in the team's AGM in November.

The Bundesliga champions signed a five-year sponsorship with Qatar Airways in 2018 and have often travelled to the nation for training during their winter break.

Julian Nagelsmann will turn around Bayern Munich's form after the international break and has the club's "full backing", sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has pledged.

A run of three draws in the Bundesliga for Bayern was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Augsburg before many of Nagelsmann's players headed off on national team duty.

Bayern sit fifth after seven rounds of games, five points adrift of early pace-setters Union Berlin, and they face Bayer Leverkusen next.

Leverkusen have made a much worse start than Bayern, with the team that finished third in the Bundesliga last season winning just once so far this term.

But almost all the focus is on Bayern, who have won the last 10 Bundesliga titles, and Salihamidzic has admitted the early form is a concern, but something that can be resolved.

Salihamidzic told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "Julian is very clear. He and his team of coaches know exactly what to do.

"Above all, Julian knows that he has the full backing of FC Bayern, that doesn't have to be emphasised again and again."

Bayern's shot conversion rate in the Bundesliga has dipped from 14.41 per cent last season to 11.8 per cent this term, and it would be easy to point to the sale of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona and suggest that has been a factor.

It might well be; however, there are signs that Bayern are doing plenty right.

 

They have already hit the woodwork seven times in seven games, three times more than any other side, which suggests they have been unfortunate. Over 34 games last season, they hit the woodwork 21 times.

Their goal tally is closely tracking their expected goals (xG) score, and both being league highs can be interpreted as another healthy sign. Bayern have netted 19 from an xG of 17.48, so they are exceeding expectations, based on the quality of chances they have had, over the course of the seven games. Last season they finished with 97 league goals from xG of 96.67.

A worrying sign is that Bayern have twice conceded a goal when an error has been committed, having done so only three times in the 2021-22 campaign.

 

Salihamidzic said Bayern chiefs had spoken to Nagelsmann about "all aspects" of the opening weeks of the season, including the encouraging Champions League group wins over Inter and Barcelona.

What is clear is that Bayern expect greater tenacity from the team after the disappointing derby effort against Augsburg.

"We will appear differently after the international break. And I expect that too," Salihamidzic said. "Physical intensity, greed and the willingness to push yourself to the limit in every game are the prerequisites for success."

Matthijs de Ligt believes he took a "step up" in his career by leaving Juventus to join Bayern Munich.

The Netherlands defender was one of football's most exciting prospects when he joined Juve from Ajax for a reported €75million, winning Serie A in his first season with the team before disappointment in the two subsequent league campaigns.

De Ligt then moved to Bayern ahead of the 2022-23 season for a reported €77m and believes the switch put him on an upward trajectory.

"Bayern Munich is closer to the philosophy of what the national coach wants on the pitch. You also have to take risks in football," he told NOS.

"For me, it's a step up in terms of team. Juventus is a very good team. Only I think Bayern has everything to win the Champions League in terms of selection and ambition. I had the feeling that it was just a little less at Juve.

"I had a great time, really enjoyed it, but I felt like it was time for a new challenge."

De Ligt has had to be patient for opportunities with Bayern, initially finding it difficult to break into the starting line-up, but has no concerns as he highlighted the amount he has played in recent matches.

"I'm not worried at all. I barely played the first three games, because I came in with a training deficit. That was what they had told me the first week," he added.

"Of the last eight games, I've played six all the way. So, I'm actually satisfied with my playing time and how the first two months have gone."

Joshua Kimmich admits he feels "really angry" with Bayern Munich's start to the new season, as he hopes to turn the page on Germany duty this week.

Julian Nagelsmann's Bundesliga champions started the new league campaign with three emphatic victories on the bounce, but have since gone winless in their last four.

With just three points from a possible dozen and defeat to Augsburg shortly before the international break, the Bavarian giants lie fifth, casting serious doubts over Nagelsmann's future.

Speaking ahead of Germany's upcoming games against Hungary and England in the UEFA Nations League, Kimmich says he and his team-mates have found themselves frustrated by their inability to get over the line.

"You get really angry", he stated. "Mainly because I don't think the defeat and the draws are necessary. We had a few chances.

"[But] there is no point having a few chances if you then lose again. You look forward to the next game, that you can do better, even if it is not with the club."

Former Germany international Oliver Bierhoff, who now serves as the national team's director, believes the change of scenery has done Bayern's international contingent good, however.

"I don't see our Bayern Munich players with hanging heads," he added. "I don't think we have to build them up. We still hope that the time with the national team will be a break from everyday life for some.

"To gain confidence and get back in, I don't see the situation there as dramatic. They have different requirements. I didn't get the impression that there was a team that was falling apart."

Joshua Kimmich has mixed feelings about playing a World Cup in Qatar but insisted players cannot be expected to boycott the finals at this late stage.

The Germany and Bayern Munich player says the time for action was 12 years ago, when Qatar was awarded the tournament, rather than now, two months out from the opening game.

Kimmich spoke at a Germany press conference on Tuesday, ahead of Nations League games against Hungary and England, the last get-together of Hansi Flick's squad before the coach chooses his players for the World Cup.

The November and December dates for the tournament are unusual, and all part of the package that has come since Qatar was surprisingly awarded hosting rights in December 2010.

Concern about the country's human rights record has persisted and is sure to continue into the tournament itself.

Kimmich said: "As a player, you're always extremely keen on a World Cup. There's a lot of discussion about it this year, and rightly so."

He stressed issues such as climate, which has forced the tournament to be shunted to late in the year, were known about before Qatar was handed the tournament.

He added: "At the end of the day, players are always asked for a boycott. We're 12 years too late. Something like that has to be taken into account beforehand.

"It's a balancing act. On the one hand, you're looking forward to the huge event; on the other hand, there are these grievances that we address again and again."

Midfielder Kimmich will have little time to step back and look closely at the Qatar situation because the demands on players this season are extreme.

As well as domestic league and European commitments being crammed tightly together ahead of the World Cup, there is also the Nations League, where Germany have won one game and drawn three so far.

"You have in mind that this is preparation for the World Cup," Kimmich said. "But after that we have a block of club football where we need to get our points. Of course, it's all preparation for the World Cup, but as a footballer you want to be in form every three days."

Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn remains steadfast in his support of Julian Nagelsmann despite the club's poor sequence of form.

While Bayern have enjoyed a perfect start to their Champions League campaign, beating Inter and Barcelona, the defending Bundesliga champions have now gone four league matches without a win.

Defeat to Augsburg on Saturday has increased the perceived pressure upon Nagelsmann, though Kahn has made it clear the responsibility falls upon the players and not their head coach.

"We are totally convinced of Julian," he told Sport1, speaking at Oktoberfest in Munich.

"The coach gives the players enough solutions. I think that's quite normal: it's the team, the team is on the pitch. It's also about turning the chances we create into goals.

"I think that's the most important thing. That the team deals with the fact that we get so little return for making these opportunities.

"Maybe after the start, everything went so smoothly and easily, somewhere the belief took root that you could do the Bundesliga on the side.

"You have seen how strong the teams are against and at some point, we have to accept that.

"Thank God we are still at the very beginning of the season. We always have the strength to get back to the front, where we belong, to the top of the table."

Bayern host Bayer Leverkusen on their return to league action on September 30.

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic warned there can be "no more excuses" after defeat at Augsburg heaped pressure on head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

After three consecutive Bundesliga draws, Bayern were looking to get back on track in Saturday's Bavarian derby, but a 1-0 loss has compounded the team's domestic troubles.

It was only a first league loss of the season, but Bayern have now gone four games without winning in the competition, and the team that last season clinched a 10th consecutive title are in a mini-crisis.

It remains to be seen whether it escalates beyond that, or whether Nagelsmann succeeds in getting the team back to form, but Salihamidzic tellingly questioned the performance as much as the result.

His verdict was that Bayern "can't win in the Bundesliga like that", urging the team to show "discipline, greed and physicality", clearly suggesting they were lacking in each area.

Salihamidzic told German broadcaster Sky Sport: "We didn't finish the situations, several situations that we had, didn't finish in a concentrated manner, didn't play through to the end with a certain greed of wanting to score goals; and we also allowed a few chances against us, didn't defend those situations to the end, and we can't win in the Bundesliga like that."

Salihamidzic, a former Bayern player, said the current side are showing they have "brutal problems against teams that play against us physically, that knock our socks off, so to speak".

There has been no suggestion yet from Bayern that Nagelsmann's position is under threat, with early Champions League group wins against Inter and Barcelona surely helping his cause in that respect.

But he is facing scrutiny from outside the club, and the results in Germany's top flight are plainly causing unease in the Bayern hierarchy.

"If we don't bring that certain discipline, greed and physicality, then you can't win in the Bundesliga," Salihamidzic said. "Now there are no more excuses. Now we need wins."

Nagelsmann, the former RB Leipzig boss who is in his second season with Bayern, lost star striker Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona in the close season.

Lewandowski's de facto replacement, Sadio Mane, has managed five goals in 11 games across all competitions but has not found the net in his past five appearances.

As a collective, Bayern are not performing to their usual standard in the Bundesliga, and it falls to Nagelsmann to stop the rot.

Bayern's run of scoring in 87 consecutive Bundesliga games has been halted, and the coach has the international break in which to figure out what is so wrong.

Speaking after the final whistle in Augsburg, Nagelsmann said he was "thinking... about the situation, about myself, about everything".

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann cut a frustrated figure after seeing his team lose at Augsburg, saying he must think about "everything".

A goal from Mergim Berisha just before the hour at Augsburg Arena condemned Bayern to their first defeat of the season.

However, it made it four games in the Bundesliga without a win for the defending champions, their longest period without tasting victory in the league since the 2001-02 season.

Speaking at a press conference alongside Augsburg boss Enrico Maassen after the game, Nagelsmann praised the victors, but believed his team should still have won the game.

"Congratulations to Augsburg and Enrico for their victory against us," he said. "If I look at the statistics I think we should win that game, if we properly defend that free-kick [that led to the goal].

"It was difficult to break them down after it went to 1-0."

Bayern had 19 shots to the hosts' 11; however, according to Opta, Augsburg shaded it in terms of expected goals, by 1.56 to 1.52.

Few visiting players shone on Saturday, and it was another struggle for Sadio Mane, who only had one shot at goal, fewer even than Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (two) who came up for late set-pieces.

"I won't be talking about individual players here, I will speak to them directly," Nagelsmann said. "There's always a difference between what I tell you and what I tell the team."

Augsburg ended Bayern's record streak of 87 Bundesliga games with at least one goal, having done similar in 2014 when ending their Bavarian neighbours' previous record streak of 65 games with a goal.

That, naturally, led to questions about former striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored twice for Barcelona in their 3-0 win over Elche in LaLiga at the same time Bayern were losing at Augsburg.

On the question of missing a number nine, Nagelsmann quipped: "What will you do if I say 'yes' or if I say 'no'? We have the classic nine with [Eric Maxim] Choupo [Moting] and we subbed him in today.

"It doesn't matter what I say now. If I say 'no' you’ll say I don't see the problem, if I say 'yes' you’ll say we're missing Lewandowski."

At the end of the press conference, Nagelsmann added: "I'm thinking about all things. About the situation, about myself, about everything."

His opposite number was grateful for the kind words, and Maassen explained his team had won by taking risks.

Although Bayern had 10 shots to the hosts' two in the second half, Augsburg matched their efforts in the first 45 minutes when both recorded nine shots each.

"Thanks to Julian [for his congratulations]," Maassen said. "I'm very pleased with how my team played.

"We were willing to take risks, I told the team we could defend and maybe lose 1-0 or 2-0, or we could play high-risk. We could concede more goals, but we'd also have a chance to win, and you have to attack if you want to try and beat them, so we ran after plenty of balls.

"We gave away a lot of chances, but [goalkeeper Rafal] Gikiewicz was tremendous."

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann says Sadio Mane has his "full backing" after coming in for criticism in recent weeks.

Mane started well following his move from Liverpool, scoring three goals in his first three Bundesliga appearances, but he has not netted in the league since while Bayern have been held to three consecutive draws.

In the midweek Champions League victory over Barcelona, Mane was substituted with 20 minutes to play having failed to attempt a shot or create a chance.

This apparent slump was put to Nagelsmann ahead of Saturday's game at Augsburg, but the coach is not concerned.

"It's quite normal that you are dissatisfied at first when things are not going well," Nagelsmann said on Friday. "He does a lot of self reflection and knows when he's played well and when he's maybe not played so well.

"He will produce his best again. He has my full backing and will score and assist plenty more goals for us."

Another recent addition who is struggling to make an impact is midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, with just one start in the DFB-Pokal since his move from Ajax, and Nagelsmann has outlined where the 20-year-old needs to improve.

"He has played too few games for his abilities, which is also due to the competition," Nagelsmann said. "First of all, you need a basic structure, which we had with Sabi [Marcel Sabitzer] and Josh [Kimmich].

"Now Leon [Goretzka] is back, who did very well against Barca. He has a lot of competition. He can also play further forward, but the competition is not small. He is a young player who needs acclimatisation time.

"He is incredibly talented. Defensively, he still has to take a few steps. That's why he plays a bit less. We need a good balance in the position. He knows that defensively he still has to work a bit harder.

"Sometimes he struggles a bit too much for me with mistakes. That's why he always has a second of thought in counter-pressing, where he is annoyed that the ball is gone. But he has already developed. I'm sure he'll play a lot with us."

Bayern Munich and France defender Lucas Hernandez has been ruled out "for several weeks" with an adductor injury sustained against Barcelona.

Hernandez opened the scoring for Bayern in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League victory and played a full part at the Allianz Arena.

However, the 2018 World Cup winner suffered an injury during the match and is now facing a spell on the sidelines.

No timeline has been given by Bayern for Hernandez's recovery, but widespread reports suggest he is facing four to six weeks out of action.

That will see Hernandez miss France's upcoming Nations League games against Austria and Denmark – Les Blues' final fixtures ahead of their World Cup title defence in nine weeks' time.

Didier Deschamps has been hit by a number of injury issues ahead of naming his squad on Thursday, with the likes of Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema also nursing fitness problems.

In more positive news for France and Bayern, Benjamin Pavard has confirmed the knock that forced him off early on against Barcelona is nothing serious.

Hernandez, who can play at both left-back and centre-back, has started eight of Bayern's 10 matches this season.

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