Bayern Munich have completed the signing of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim striker Sandro Wagner, nearly ten years after he originally left the club.
The much-anticipated move was confirmed on Thursday, with the 30-year-old signing a contract until 2020.
Bayern also confirmed on the same day that French winger Kingsley Coman has extended his contract until 2023.
Spells at Darmstadt and Hoffenheim the making of Wagner
Wagner began his career with Bayern, making four Bundesliga appearances, however after leaving he appeared to have become a journeymen. First came MSV Duisburg, during which time he was part of Germany’s under-21 European Champions in 2009, although he failed to make the most of his opportunities back in the top flight with Werder Bremen and, on loan, 1. FC Kaiserslautern.
He then moved to Hertha BSC in 2012, scoring five goals to help them to immediate promotion back to the Bundesliga, but he added just two more the following year and none at all in his final season. A move to newly-promoted SV Darmstadt 98 in 2015 worked wonders for him though, with his 15 goals helping them to survive relegation against all the odds, as well as attract the attention of Hoffenheim.
He was a vital part of Julian Nagelsmann’s side last season, scoring 11 league goals and assisting four to fire them to a fourth-place finish. His form also earned him a first call-up to the senior Germany side. He scored a hat-trick against San Marino in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in June, and although he only played in the opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup, he also scored in back-to-back matches in October.
That form, plus his previous links to the club, led to the interest of the Munich club, who have spent the last few seasons without recognised cover for lead striker Robert Lewandowski. He has scored four goals in the Bundesliga this season, plus two in Europe, but has not played in December so not to aggravate an Achilles tendon problem ahead of his Bayern medical, which he has now completed.
Wagner delighted to be “home”
Hasan Salihamidzic, Bayern’s Sporting Director, suggested the club were pleased to acquire “another Germany international” – he will be the eighth in the current squad, including former Hoffenheim team mates Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy, who made the same move in the summer. Salihamidzic added that the club are “convinced that Sandro will enhance our squad with his class and experience.”
Wagner himself said he was “delighted” that the move had “come off.” He explained that “a long journey for me is now at an end and I can return to my home, my club.” Needless to say, he revealed that “when I got the offer, I didn’t have to think about it for long.”
He has unusually taken the number two shirt, which he explained is because 14, his “favourite number,” is already taken by Rafinha, with the two represented his “second attempt” with the club – although it has also been interpreted as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact he will be Bayern’s ‘number two’ striker.
The transfer is reported to have cost Bayern around €12 million, increasing to €15 or €16 million depending on clauses. Hoffenheim will not invest the moment on a replacement, with their Director of Professional Football, Alexander Rosen, saying the club felt they are “very well stocked in the [forward] position” already, with players like Mark Uth, Ádám Szalai and Andrej Kramaric.
Meanwhile, speaking to German radio, Germany boss Joachim Löw has also suggested that Wagner’s World Cup place may not be under threat, despite Wagner being set to act as reserve for Lewandowski. “I told him that he will probably get plenty of opportunities as Bayern are still represented in three competitions,” he told B5 Aktuell on Thursday.
Coman commits long-term future to Bayern
Later in the day, the Bundesliga leaders and five-time defending champions also confirmed that they have extended the deal with Coman, who like many players in the squad has been resurgent since Jupp Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti as coach in October.
“I’m very happy that I’ll be able to keep playing for this club for a long time,” said Coman, whose move from Juventus was made permanent in the summer after a two-year long spell. He added that he “feels at home” with Bayern.
Salihamidzic believes him to be “a player with great future potential” who will in time “become a true great at Bayern.” He added that he “has made fantastic progress this season.” The 21-year-old has scored two and assisted four goals in the Bundesliga this season, whilst he has one goal and three assists in the UEFA Champions League.
Quotes via Bayern Munich and Kicker.