Snubbed by Germany for the World Cup, Leroy Sane then had to deal with being dropped entirely from Manchester City’s squad early in the Premier League season.
How quickly things have turned round for the flying winger: Back in favor for club and country, he cannot stop scoring.
Sane chested in City’s opening goal in a 2-1 win over Watford on Tuesday, a seventh straight victory in the Premier League that left the defending champions five points clear. They are unbeaten after 15 games of the 38-match campaign.
Since returning from the international break where he scored in back-to-back games for Germany, Sane has netted three goals in three league games for City. He has seven goals in his last 10 games combined for Germany and City.
In a period when City manager Pep Guardiola is heavily rotating his squad, Sane remains a constant in the starting lineup — but it’s not just down to his superb form. With left back Benjamin Mendy likely out for another two months because of a knee injury, Sane is the only other player to give City genuine width on that flank.
Riyad Mahrez swung in the cross for Sane’s 40th-minute goal, in which he improvised by using his chest to direct the ball between the legs of Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster. Then Mahrez, starting ahead of Raheem Sterling on the right wing, doubled the lead after converting a cross from Gabriel Jesus.
City weathered a late fightback from Watford, which reduced the deficit in the 85th through Abdoulaye Doucoure’s scrambled effort and then pumped many balls into the box in an attempt to force an equalizer.
City held out for a win that heaps the pressure on second-place Liverpool, which travels to Burnley on Wednesday looking to trim the gap to the leaders back to two points.
Also Tuesday, West Ham and Brighton claimed 3-1 wins over Cardiff and Crystal Palace, respectively. Bournemouth beat Huddersfield 2-1.
Burnley-Liverpool is one of six games on Wednesday in a rare midweek round in the Premier League.