After three months on the sidelines with injury, Bayern Munich star Sadio Mane made his long-awaited return as a substitute in the record champions' 3-0 win against Union Berlin.
Mane missed Senegal's 2022 World Cup campaign after suffering a leg injury in Bayern's penultimate Bundesliga fixture of 2022. However, following a successful operation to re-fix a tendon in the head of his right fibula, the 30-year-old began strength and conditioning training during the winter break and re-joined his teammates for full training on 19 February.
"It's fantastic, training has been going really well. I'm delighted to be back with the team," Mane told the Bayern website.
"Football's my life, I've missed it. I'm looking forward to the fans, the atmosphere, scoring goals and, at the end, winning!"
Prior to his appearance in Sunday's top-of-the-table clash with Union, Mane last featured in the Bundesliga on Matchday 14, picking up a long-term injury in the 6-1 triumph over Werder Bremen. In total, the Bayern No.17 was out of competitive action for 110 days.
"Sadio won't be able to start, but we're delighted to have him as an option again. He's in great shape," head coach Julian Nagelsmann said prior to the showdown with the Berliners.
Mane looked sharp during his 25 minutes of on-field action as the snow fell on the Allianz Arena. The multiple trophy winner might have even had a goal assist to show on his return, had teammate Thomas Müller managed to convert the Senegalese forward's selfless pass in the game's 71st minute.
Watch: All Sadio Mane's Bundesliga goals and assists so far
Mane's return represents a welcome boost for a Bayern team chasing trophies in three competitions. Prior to his injury, the summer 2022 signing from Liverpool produced 11 goals and four assists across his first 23 competitive appearances for the club.
Sadio Mane in numbers
The stats behind the Senegal star's season in the Bundesliga with Bayern...
Sadio Mane: The Senegal star's year at Bayern
A look back on the Senegal star's brief spell in Munich that made him a Bundesliga champion...
Who is Christoph Freund?
Christoph Freund is joining Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich as sporting director after earning an exceptional reputation for developing talent at Red Bull Salzburg.