Leroy Sane is having arguably the best season of his career at Bayern Munich in 2021/22. - © Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty
Leroy Sane is having arguably the best season of his career at Bayern Munich in 2021/22. - © Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty
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Is the 2021/22 Leroy Sane the best ever?

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With five goals and as many assists, Leroy Sane's contribution to Bayern Munich's nine-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga has been considerable.

The Germany international has become a mainstay of Julian Nagelsmann's team, which begs the question: is this the best Leroy Sane ever? bundesliga.com tries to answer that question…

Sane burst onto the scene at Schalke in 2014/15, at the tender age of 18. Having scored ten and set up a further ten for the Gelsenkirchen club's Under-19s, he caught the attention of then first-team coach Roberto Di Matteo, who fed him into his starting XI. The livewire winger started five of the final six fixtures that season, ending with three goals and one assist from just over 600 minutes on the field.

Watch: Leroy Sane's Bundesliga mixtape with Schalke

Di Matteo left that summer, but not before informing his successor Andre Breitenreiter of one of the jewels of his squad. The new coach did not need much convincing and Sane played all but one game in the 2015/16 season, scoring eight and setting up six. News of his eye-catching performances spread far and wide, and it was former Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola who lured the then 20-year-old Sane to Manchester City in England's Premier League.

In three seasons in England, Sane scored 25 goals and assisted over 30. Together, Sane and Guardiola won the Premier League twice and lifted two English League Cups and the FA Cup, with 2017/18 arguably his best season yet.

Sane really hit his stride that term, scoring a brace in just half an hour on the field against Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool before scoring one and setting up two more in a 5-0 demolition of Crystal Palace. Guardiola knew that he could put Sane anywhere across his attacking line and the result would be the same: contribution to goals. He scored and assisted in three consecutive games against Stoke City, Burnley and West Brom in a hot October and ended the campaign with ten goals and 15 assists.

It was Sane's best season yet, but a serious knee injury picked up in the 2019/20 curtain-raising Community Shield sidelined him for an entire season and stalled that momentum.

Leroy Sane tore cruciate knee ligaments in the Charity Shield against Liverpool for Manchester City. - via www.imago-images.de/imago images / PRiME Media Images

Sane made just one more Premier League appearance before joining Bayern, and he hit the ground running with a goal and two assists in an 8-0 opening-day win over Schalke. Sane only started 18 games for the record champions last term, making a further 14 appearances from the bench. His total of six goals was nevertheless an admirable return as he got his hands on a first Bundesliga title.

For a man of Sane's pride and ambition, though, it was still not enough. "Overall, I was obviously not entirely happy with my first season [with Bayern]," Sane told Germany's Bild. "But my first few months at Manchester City weren't my best either, and at Bayern I'd just come back from a long, very serious injury."

The start to 2021/22 was not without its complications either, though. Discontent could be heard from some corners of the Allianz Arena as Sane failed to deliver the goods they were all expecting. He was substituted at half-time of the Matchday 2 win over Cologne and was on the bench for the subsequent clash with Hertha Berlin. Behind the scenes, though, the Bayern hierarchy were hard at work getting Sane back on track.

Leroy Sane was struggling for form at the start of the 2021/22 season. - Thomas Eisenhuth/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

"The whole club management, including [former president] Uli Hoeneß, spoke with me and gave me their total support," Sane said. "You cannot take such support for granted at every club."

Coach Nagelsmann also helped, taking Sane to one side to explain his vision and how the winger fits into it. "I've got a great relationship with him," Sane said. "He keeps showing me how I can perform even better in his system and how this can improve us all as a team."

As a result, Sane now has 11 goals and 11 assists to his name in all competitions and has been named by Bayern supporters as their Player of the Month for three straight months. By comparison, he had 21 goals and assists in 44 games across the whole of 2020/21; he has beaten that already in just 26 outings this term.

He has not only helped Bayern to such a considerable lead at the top of the Bundesliga, but also fuelled their march into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with five goals.

The Bavarians face Red Bull Salzburg for a place in the quarter-finals and Sane hopes his own purple patch of form will continue right through to the business end of the season, when a trip to the Champions League final in St Petersburg features highly on his list of objectives.

"In the Champions League, it always comes down to tiny things and your form on the day, but I've not won it yet and I'm therefore really motivated [to do so]," added Sane.

In his current form, Sane is capable of being the man who can make the difference and inspire Bayern to a second Champions League title in three years.

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