Bayern’s Mane in frame for return against PSG
Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane is in the frame for a return to the starting lineup in Wednesday’s second leg with Paris Saint-Germain, after manager Julian Nagelsmann on Friday promised “more minutes” for the returning striker.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga clash at Stuttgart, Nagelsmann said Mane will continue his return following three months on the sidelines after a leg injury ruled him out of the World Cup.
The Senegal forward made his first appearance since November when he came off the bench for 25 minutes in Sunday’s 3-0 win over fellow title-chasers Union Berlin.
Nagelsmann suggested that Mane would again feature off the bench against Stuttgart.
“He’s making a good impression. We will try and give him more minutes,” said Nagelsmann.
“It was a serious injury but his fitness levels are good. Sadio is part of the usual competition for spots.”
Nagelsmann said his side needed to “walk the tightrope” with team selections ahead of the “incredibly important game” against PSG while considering their push for domestic honours.
Bayern hold a 1-0 advantage ahead of Wednesday’s return Champions League fixture and sit equal on points with Borussia Dortmund in the league.
Bayern could be three points behind at kickoff should Dortmund win Friday’s home clash with RB Leipzig but Nagelsmann implied the priority was to ensure progression to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Nagelsmann revealed in-form defender Benjamin Pavard may sit on the bench against Stuttgart as he is ineligible to play PSG after picking up a second yellow for a late tackle on Lionel Messi.
“If you look at it in isolation, you have to bring him in” Nagelsmann said as “Pavard is in extremely good form.”
“But there is the issue that he is suspended on Wednesday. You would take away the rhythm of a player (if Pavard starts).”
Nagelsmann said he “would not rotate much” and revealed he wanted to “develop a core group to play together in difficult phases, who can grow in confidence over time.”
Only winger Leroy Sane is in doubt for Saturday’s match although the former Man City forward will make the trip to Stuttgart if he comes through a fitness test on Friday.