Jamal Musiala and Sadio Mane: Bayern Munich's potent new-look attack and MD1's Men of the Matchday
If Bayern Munich's two games so far this season are anything to go by, the post-Robert Lewandowski era at the club will swiftly be renamed as the age of Jamal Musiala and Sadio Mane.
After Lewandowski's departure was confirmed, head coach Julian Nagelsmann stated that goalscoring duties would have to be "shared across several shoulders".
Yet even he must be surprised at the manner in which Mane, Musiala and Co. have taken over the mantle. Bayern put five past RB Leipzig to win the 2022 Supercup and followed that up with a swashbuckling six-goal showing to kick-off the new Bundesliga season away to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Watch: Highlights of Bayern's win over Frankfurt
Musiala and Mane have been central to that. The former registered a goal and an assist against Leipzig in a display that was later hailed as "world-class" by Nagelsmann.
But even then it was followed up by a warning from the Bayern boss in the build-up to the Frankfurt game on Friday: "At the end of the day it's very simple: I praised him a lot but ultimately he knows that if he doesn't perform, he doesn't play. He needs to keep performing."
The Germany international did just that. Starting on the left side of attacking midfield, the 19-year-old teased and toyed with the Eintracht rearguard, popping up between the lines, drawing defenders out of position, playing probing passes behind the defence and testing Kevin Trapp with shots from distance.
He was rewarded with two more goals as Bayern ran out 6-1 winners. "I feel like we're playing amazing football," Musiala told bundesliga.com after the final whistle. Everyone's in a good flow right now, we're creating chances, we're having fun. I think it makes it easier for everyone when we're playing like this.
"I'm just trying to keep working on myself and keep trying to perform. I have to perform. This is an amazing team - I have to perform every single game. We have an amazing team. It's just fun to be out there."
That sense of enjoyment is in no small part down to Mane. While not a like-for-like replacement for Lewandowski, the Senegal international still gets goals – he scored one each against both Leipzig and Frankfurt – and is arguably even tougher to play against.
Watch: Musiala: "Everything's clicking right now"
Mane drops deep, moves wide and runs behind defences, all of which creates space for his teammates. And it has not gone unnoticed by Nagelsmann.
"We've got a lot of variety up front," said the 35-year-old after the Frankfurt game. "Mane gives us more flexibility. Sometimes it's really horrible to defend against. You can sense there's a really good energy and that's reflected in our performances."
Musiala sees things similarly. "We can combine with each other, with everyone," he said, when asked about playing alongside Mane. "Everything's flowing right now, it's very good. It's just fun to play with everyone here.
"I'm going to keep trying to keep this performance up. I'm going out every game and giving it my all. That's all I can do. I'm going to try and score against Wolfsburg next week too."
Watch: Nagelsmann: "We need Sadio Mane's energy"
The Wolves, famously, were Lewandowski's favourite opponents in the Bundesliga. Not only did he score five goals in nine unforgettable minutes against them in 2015, he found the net 25 times in 26 meetings overall.
On current evidence, Wolfsburg (and many others) look set to be introduced to a new set of ruthless tormentors.
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