Bayern Munich have signed striker Sandro Wagner until 2020, seeing him return after spending much of his youth career at the Bavarian club. How can he fit in?
The 30-year-old striker has impressed for both Hoffenheim as well as for Germany on the international front. As a Bayern youth product, his return is likely to be smooth and welcomed. Wagner had hinted at a potential return back to his youth club and the impact of this signing will be felt both on a club and international level.
Where he will fit in
Wagner, who will join in January, plays as a classic number 9, much like Robert Lewandowski. He is good at tap-ins and finishing off chances, as well as providing assists up front. He positions himself in the right place and his right foot and head seem to be his strongest assets. The club has confirmed that he will play as a backup to Lewandowski. Having just one number 9 was a risky move, especially with potential injuries and fatigue creeping up. Wagner will allow Lewandowski to take a breather every once in a while.
Additionally, something (one of many things, to be honest) I had always admired with Bayern’s 2013 squad was that there was competition within the squad for who would start up front: Mario Gómez and Mario Mandžukić would be in healthy competition with one another to constantly keep them on their toes. Lewandowski’s form cannot always be 100% and he has not been as clinical as he ought to be lately. Wagner will allow Lewandowski to pause and reflect especially as Bayern’s schedule gets busier and more intense towards the second half of the season.
Wagner will give Bayern a much-needed backup for Lewandowski as well as give the Pole a reason to not get complacent and push himself harder.
I am sure you do not need to be reminded but next summer we have a World Cup coming. In Russia. This means that Germany have extra pressure on them to retain their title. During the last World Cup, Germany won the trophy without an actual striker. This time around, Sandro Wagner has stepped up to the plate and has been quite impressive.
Playing at Bayern will mean that Wagner gets used to playing with many of his teammates on an international front, too, which will be particularly useful for next summer.
Germany have several creative talent in midfield but they really required a classic finisher, which Wagner is. The only issue – for both club and country – is that Wagner is 30 years old already. He may play a role for the next couple of years but after that, there will be a desire for some fresh, youthful players up front.
Bayern, especially, will need some young, physical and creative players up front in the future – for now however, Wagner’s return is more than welcome.