Sadio Mané is in danger of missing FC Bayern against PSG as well. On Thursday, Julian Nagelsmann gave an interim update – and pleaded for a contract extension with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
FC Bayern will bring a number of stricken players with them when they land back in Munich this Thursday after a week’s training camp. But another serious personnel setback has failed to materialise in Doha. After months of bad news almost every English week, Julian Nagelsmann & Co. have registered it with relief.
Mané: “Small remaining chance” for PSG’s first leg
While the season is over for Manuel Neuer (fractured tibia and fibula) and Lucas Hernandez (torn cruciate ligament), Sadio Mané (tendon surgery on the head of his tibia) is aiming for a comeback in the spring. But when exactly? “If everything goes top, top, it could be that he can play again against Paris,” coach Nagelsmann gave an update before the flight back from Doha.
The first leg in the Champions League round of 16 at PSG takes place on 14 February. “He is already a tad faster than we expected,” Nagelsmann continued, but he still sees only a “small remaining chance for the first leg”. “In my head, the planning is more that he won’t play there yet. But he is definitely on a good path.”
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, on the other hand, can count on playing against his former club. The attacker, who contributed eight scorer points to Bayern’s six-game winning streak in the Bundesliga before the World Cup (six goals, two assists), also presented himself to Nagelsmann’s satisfaction in Doha.
“He wasn’t always able to train fully in the first year and a half,” the coach recalled of the Cameroon international’s recurring back problems. “Since he has been playing regularly, he is also physically at a top level.” Choupo-Moting is an “extremely good footballer with a good scoring threat” and at the same time “extremely” accepted as a type in the group. “He is very popular – that is always important so that you are also played in the decisive spaces. If someone likes you, he might even pass you a ball.”
And so Nagelsmann not only pleaded again for an extension of his contract, which expires in the summer (“Of course, it’s good to have talks with him and try to extend”) but also gave his soon-to-be 34-year-old goalscorer a commitment for the rest of the season. “I told him today that if he keeps up his diligence, he will also play a leading role in the second half of the season.”