Leroy Sané’s new layer

Category: Player Analysis

At 25, Leroy Sané is having the best season of his career... away from the wing. He is Nagelsmann's first big change at the head of Bayern.

Published:29/12/2021

The transition between Hansi Flick and Julian Nagelsmann has not been a traumatic one. Both coaches start and finish at points with things in common but each has his own way of working and their teams transmit different things, sharing a level of demand and guarantee of good play typical of a permanent candidate to lift all the titles. Among the most interesting aspects introduced by the German coach, and which reflect well all our metrics and functionalities, is the case of Leroy Sané, whom Nagelsmann has seen in a different light.

“He has special qualities that are hard to find anywhere else in the world”, Guardiola said of the German. For Pep, Sané’s one-on-one play, and his quality to go with a great shot and top-notch pace, made him a very important player in his plans. Although Guardiola has been known for changing the positions and roles of players, interiorising full-backs – Lahm, Cancelo – and wingers – Ribery, Robben or Foden – Leroy Sané was always a wide player under Pep, something that has changed under Nagelsmann, making him one of the biggest names among the elite of European football.

When we showcase top level team content, we try to find the utility for all ranks and levels within professional football. Being able to access all kinds of maps and analysis that lead us to identify and value the performance of a player who changes position or zone of interaction on the pitch is a way to offer a client or a media outlet the possibilities and comparisons that our tools offer us.

The move from a winger to inside areas in leading teams is becoming more and more frequent due to the value of dribbling in central areas, where the pass is used more to avoid taking risks. Players like Sané, with so much quality to control, fix the defender and change pace, multiplies the variants of a team that already has Alphonso Davies on the left to generate width and outside depth.

In the heat map it is easy to see the transformation of Sané, who by moving off the wing continues to have a very high influence and involvement in Bayern’s play, surpassing all the individual records he set during the season, as we can see in the comparative radar above. This is not Nagelsmann’s only major change at the helm of Bayern but it is the most personal and one that has led to Sané becoming a superior player.

We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in football analytics and big data; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 180,000 players from more than 180 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
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