Sadio Mane has yet to kick a ball in the Bundesliga and already the former Liverpool striker is facing jibes – including a tongue-in-cheek volley from Bayern Munich's opening-day opponents.

Eintracht Frankfurt president Peter Fischer is relishing Friday's tussle between his team, who lifted the Europa League trophy in May, and German champions Bayern.

There is a feelgood factor around Eintracht as the new season arrives, with a UEFA Super Cup clash against Real Madrid coming up next Wednesday.

Confidence is surging, and even the prospect of facing Bayern is not intimidating the team that trailed in 11th in last season's Bundesliga.

Bayern have lost Robert Lewandowski since he hit 50 goals last season, and few would expect new addition Sadio Mane to come close to that tally.

Not many would see it wise to be hurling insults his way, though, however light-hearted the intention.

Fischer, in an interview with broadcasters RTL and n-tv, did just that though, as he said: "Who the f*** is Mane?"

 

Fischer added: "By the way, we always did relatively well with Robert Lewandowski."

That is debatable, given that Lewandowski scored 15 goals in 18 appearances against Eintracht, prior to his close-season switch to Barcelona. They came at a rate of one every 91.53 minutes.

Fischer predicted there would be "an exciting mood in the stadium" as Eintracht host the 10-in-a-row champions.

"And of course we have a chance. If it ends in a draw, I won't start to cry either."

Eintracht head coach Oliver Glasner worked with Mane when the Senegalese forward moved from Metz to Salzburg in 2012, and he has since admired the 30-year-old from afar, particularly during his stellar six-year Liverpool career.

"I am happy that Sadio is in the Bundesliga now," Glasner told a news conference. "It's been 10 years since I got to know him. He was just a young boy that was relegated from the French second to third division. He only spoke French but had enormous talent.

"He was very ambitious and had a clear idea. When we talked about learning German, he said he wants to learn English because he wants to go to the Premier League.

"I am very happy for him. And for Bayern to sign a player from Liverpool is evidence of the attractiveness of the Bundesliga which they were afraid of losing."

Glasner said his team would not be "raising the white flag" of surrender against Bayern and would "do everything we can" to score the upset win, even if he sees Bayern as champions in waiting once again.

After Bayern comes the Madrid game for Eintracht in Helsinki.

"This morning I said it's actually cool for us," Glasner added. "We play the Champions League winners three years ago on Friday and the current Champions League winners on Wednesday. Quite a cool start. Nevertheless, I think that over the course of the Bundesliga season, Bayern will have the edge again."

Mario Gotze acknowledges he was wrong to reject a move to Liverpool upon leaving Bayern Munich in 2016, when the Reds were at the beginning of their rebuild under Jurgen Klopp.

Gotze returned to the Bundesliga this month, joining Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt after spending two seasons with Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven.

The creative midfielder, who scored the only goal of the game as Germany overcame Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final, became one of European football's hottest properties during a four-year spell with Klopp's Borussia Dortmund between 2009 and 2013, winning two Bundesliga titles and reaching a Champions League final.

After moving from BVB to rivals Bayern Munich, where he scored 36 goals in 114 appearances, Gotze was targeted by the Reds in 2016, and now admits a move to Anfield would have benefited his career.

"Liverpool had finished eighth in their first season with Jurgen [2015-16] and had not qualified for the Champions League," he recalled in an interview with Bild.

"Even in previous years, it wasn't a club that always played at the top.

"Dortmund had previously played a top season under Thomas Tuchel, BVB was on the up. Jurgen was still building something.

"In retrospect you have to say, Liverpool would have been better."

Reds boss Klopp has won six major trophies during his spell with the Merseyside club, lifting both domestic cups during a marathon 2021-22 season which saw them narrowly miss out on a historic quadruple. 

Mario Gotze has all the qualities to return to the Germany squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, according to former Die Mannschaft coach Joachim Low.

Gotze has won 63 caps for his country and scored an extra-time winner against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final as Germany lifted the trophy for a fourth time.

The creative midfielder has not appeared for the national side since November 2017, though, when he appeared as a second-half substitute in a friendly against France.

That is due to a lack of club success for the former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich star, who has traded PSV for Eintracht Frankfurt in a reported €4million move to the Europa League winners.

Appearing in the Champions League for Eintracht, alongside returning to the Bundesliga, the 30-year-old will be hopeful of making his way back into the fold for Germany.

Low, who guided Germany to that World Cup triumph in the crowning achievement of his 15-year tenure, says Gotze has the talent to earn a place in Hansi Flick's Die Mannschaft team before the 2022 tournament in Qatar in November.

"He has all the qualities for it," Low told Sky in Germany. "He will play in the Champions League again, he is the focus here in the Bundesliga and wants to impress for the World Cup."

Gotze scored 12 goals and added 11 assists across all competitions for PSV in the 2021-22 season, playing in 52 games, with reports linking him to Serie A champions Milan.

Eintracht swooped in as Oliver Glasner looked to bolster his squad to compete in Europe, but the Germany international's arrival came as a surprise to Low.

"Of course I didn't expect Mario to return to Germany, not at this point in time," he added.

"But I'm very happy for Mario and Eintracht. Mario is an exceptional player, very professional and with his great playing intelligence, he fits in very well with Eintracht."

It is the end of an era at Liverpool as one of their iconic front three leaves for pastures new.

After six years at Anfield, Sadio Mane has departed for a new adventure with Bayern Munich, completing a move for €41million (£35.2million).

Stats Perform understands Liverpool will receive a guaranteed €32million (£27.5m), plus €6m (£5.2m) based on appearances and a further €3m (£2.5m) depending on future success that Mane and Bayern achieve.

The Reds have already moved on by bringing in Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez from Benfica, but it feels significant that Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will never play together again for Jurgen Klopp's side.

The trio fired Liverpool to multiple trophies, including a Champions League and Premier League, though the additions of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz in the last couple of years had already seen a slight evolution.

However, Klopp has now lost one of his main men, which is an experience the German boss has had to get used to in his career, especially the idea of his players moving to Munich.

While it may not feel like quite the blow of past desertions given the forward planning, Stats Perform has taken a look at how the decision to leave Klopp went in the past.

 

Nuri Sahin

Sahin was always likely to be a major component for Borussia Dortmund when he became the Bundesliga's youngest player aged 16 years, 11 months against Wolfsburg in August 2006, a record that was only broken in November 2020 by Youssoufa Moukoko.

He shone under Klopp, particularly in 2010-11 when Dortmund shocked German football to win the Bundesliga title, with Sahin claiming the league's Player of the Year award and earning a move to Real Madrid.

After 14 goal involvements from midfield (six goals, eight assists) in his last season in the Bundesliga, Sahin struggled to do similar in Spain, making just 10 appearances in all competitions for Madrid, with one solitary goal in the Copa del Rey against Ponferradina.

An unsuccessful loan move to Liverpool the following season was cut short halfway through, and just 20 months after leaving Signal Iduna Park, Sahin was back in the yellow and black on loan, before making the switch permanent in 2014, staying until a move to Werder Bremen in 2018.

Shinji Kagawa

The Japan international spent two very productive seasons at Dortmund under Klopp between 2010 and 2012, winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and scoring 21 goals in 49 league games.

Kagawa decided to try his hand at the Premier League, moving to Manchester United in June 2012, but much like Sahin, found the grass far from greener.

Due to injury, he only played a supporting role as United won the title in the 2012-13 season, scoring six goals in 26 appearances in all competitions, before making a further 29 in the first campaign at Old Trafford following the retirement of Alex Ferguson, with no additional goals to his name.

Like Sahin, Kagawa returned to Dortmund in 2014, spending a further five years at the club.

 

Mario Gotze

The fresh-faced Gotze came through the youth ranks at Dortmund and, like Kagawa, played a vital role in Klopp's great Dortmund side that won two Bundesliga titles, and also had a big hand in getting them to the 2013 Champions League final.

One of the side narratives to that final against Bayern was that prior to it, Gotze had agreed a €37m move to the Bavarian club.

Klopp was hurt by Gotze's decision, but although the attacking midfielder went on to score the winner for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and have a decent record at Bayern, scoring 36 goals in 114 games, he never really established himself as a key cog in their team, and in a familiar move for those who had left Dortmund, returned three years later.

Gotze spent four years back in the yellow and black, but was never able to recapture the magic that made him one of Europe's hottest prospects under Klopp.

Robert Lewandowski

Arguably the only real success story of those who moved on from Klopp, though there is no denying that the building blocks were put in place by the German for Lewandowski to become the striker he is today.

Arriving at Dortmund as an unknown from Lech Poznan, he scored just eight times in 33 games in his first Bundesliga season, before going on to rack up 66 across his next three league campaigns.

His goals also played a part in Dortmund winning two titles and reaching the Champions League final, but a year after Gotze had moved to Bayern, Lewandowski did the same following the expiry of his contract.

There were thoughts that the Poland international might struggle to replicate his form to quite the expected levels in Munich, scoring just 17 goals in his first Bundesliga season.

However, since then he has never scored fewer than 22, and broke Gerd Muller's record for most goals in a Bundesliga season when he netted 41 times in just 29 games in 2020-21.

Since leaving Dortmund in 2014, Lewandowski has won eight Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokal's and a Champions League, while also being awarded the FIFA Best Men's Player of the Year in the last two years.

 

Philippe Coutinho

Klopp probably thought the days of losing his star players were behind him when he arrived at Liverpool, but on the eve of his third season at Anfield, he was rocked when Coutinho handed in a transfer request.

The influential Brazilian was part of Klopp's first great front three at Liverpool along with Mane and Firmino, but the arrival of Salah softened the blow of his move to Barcelona in January 2018, as did the reported £142m (€160m) fee.

Despite a promising start to life at the Camp Nou, the pressure of the price tag and essentially being the replacement for the legendary Andres Iniesta proved too much, with Coutinho loaned to, of course, Bayern after just 18 months in Spain.

He had a successful season in Germany, winning a treble and having 20 goal involvements (11 goals and nine assists) in 38 appearances in all competitions, but returned to Barca and again failed to impress, albeit a serious knee injury curtailed most of his 2020-21 campaign.

After 16 goals and seven assists in 84 games in all for Barca, Coutinho returned to England in January 2022 to play for ex-Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, recording five goals and three assists, enough to secure a permanent move for a slightly more modest fee of around £17m (€20m).

Georginio Wijnaldum

The Netherlands midfielder may be a harsh inclusion as it remains unclear how much of his exit from Liverpool was his decision and how much was the club's, but Wijnaldum parted ways with Klopp and the Reds at the end of the 2020-21 season to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The man who earned cult status at Liverpool with his two goals against Barcelona in their dramatic comeback in the Champions League semi-final second leg three years ago would now get the chance to play alongside Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.

However, despite being a regular under Klopp, having never started fewer than 27 league games in his five years on Merseyside, the 31-year-old started just 18 Ligue 1 games for PSG, scoring once.

Wijnaldum was voted the worst signing in Ligue 1 by a poll held by Get French Football News, but still has two years left on his contract at the Parc des Princes, so could yet turn things around, and had a title winners' medal to show for his efforts after his debut campaign.

Mane will most likely win more titles in Germany to add to his already meaty collection from his time at Liverpool, but whether he can recreate the level of performances and subsequent adulation he received from the red half of Merseyside remains to be seen.

Mario Gotze expressed his excitement at returning to the Champions League after sealing his transfer to Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt. 

The 30-year-old former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich man has returned to the Bundesliga for a reported €4million fee after spending two years with Eredivisie giants PSV.

Frankfurt confirmed the midfielder had signed a three-year deal on Tuesday, as Oliver Glasner looks to strengthen his squad for next season's Champions League campaign.

Speaking to the club's website, Gotze said: "I'm incredibly excited about joining Eintracht Frankfurt. This club have made remarkable progress and have started out on an exciting and ambitious path, on which I can now accompany them. 

"This club have a great foundation. From the stadium to the fans to the city, everything is just to my liking. I'm really looking forward to my return to the Bundesliga, as well as the chance to play in the Champions League."

Gotze, who has won 63 caps for Germany, scored the only goal of his country's 2014 World Cup final win over Argentina, earning Die Mannschaft their fourth world title.

Board member Markus Krosche told the club's media channels: "The fact that a player like Mario Gotze has chosen, with full conviction, Eintracht Frankfurt over numerous other offers, speaks volumes for the outstanding image that the club has built over the past few years.

"I don't need to say much about his footballing qualities. We've been lacking a player of his type. Mario's technical ability will help our game enormously."

As well as being seeded for next season's Champions League group stage, Frankfurt will face Real Madrid in August's UEFA Super Cup in Helsinki after beating Rangers on penalties in Seville last month.

Mario Gotze looks set for a Bundesliga second coming after being given permission to miss PSV's first training session under new boss Ruud van Nistelrooy. 

The 30-year-old former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich attacker has been strongly linked with a move to Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Serie A champions Milan were also recently credited with an interest in Gotze, but reports in Germany on Monday indicated a move to Frankfurt was close to completion. 

Sport1 said Gotze, who joined PSV in 2020 and has two years left on his contract, has a clause allowing him to leave for €4million and that an agreement with Eintracht has been broadly agreed. 

PSV confirmed Gotze's absence from training, saying that he had been "given the space... to complete a transfer to another club". 

Gotze, capped 63 times by Germany, was the 2014 World Cup final match-winner, scoring the only goal of the game against Argentina in extra time. 

He scored 12 goals and added 11 assists across all competitions for PSV in the 2021-22 season, playing in 52 games. 

Van Nistelrooy, the former PSV, Manchester United and Real Madrid striker, looks like having to plan without the experienced Gotze, and spoke on Monday of wanting to give opportunities to the club's best young players. 

The 45-year-old was announced as PSV's incoming boss in March, signing a three-year contract. 

Liverpool's Champions League final loss seemingly signalled the end for Sadio Mane at Anfield.

Luis Diaz's January transfer, along with fresh links for Raphinha to Anfield, all lead to Mane's eventual departure. 

However, the Reds are not willing to let him go for the wrong price, in what is becoming a tricky leverage play.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL REJECT BAYERN BID FOR MANE

Liverpool have rejected Bayern Munich's opening €29.1million (£25m) bid for  Sadio Mane, according to the Times.

The offer was reportedly submitted at the end of last week and the sum is inclusive of add-ons, which depend on Bayern's performances next season, such as winning the Champions League.

Liverpool officials did not consider the offer, which is perceived a gross undervaluing of the 30-year-old attacker.

Although Bayern want to move quickly on securing the Senegal international, Liverpool have yet to relay a price at which they would be willing to sell. 

ROUND-UP

– Meanwhile, the Reds will not look to further pursue Barcelona midfielder Gavi, according to Sport.

– Nemanja Matic will join Roma once his contract at Manchester United expires at the end of the month, per Sky Sports.

– Benfica are hoping to reach an agreement with PSV over Mario Gotze, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Talks are in progress for Inter's Stefano Sensi to join newly promoted Monza on a €15m permanent deal, per Nicolo Schira.

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