Tianjin Updates

Chinese side Tianjin Teda sign Sandro Wagner from Bayern Munich

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2019-02-05

BERLIN, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Recent days have been exciting in Unterhaching, a 22,000-inhabitant town located on the outskirts of Munich. A sweeping decision had to be made. Not an easy thing for 31-year-old Sandro Wagner and his wife Denise.

Now the entire Wagner clan will move to China after the footballer signed a two-year contract with Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda, who are coached by former Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Uli Stielike.

German media reports speak about a two-year deal worth of 15 million euros. Tianjin is said to have paid a transfer fee of five million euros to Bayern, who have confirmed the deal.

The Munich-born star is one of Germany's best strikers and always speaks frankly when it comes to football. But Wagner never took his desire for football more seriously than his family's belonging. When playing for Hoffenheim and other clubs, Wagner's wife and their three children stayed back home in Unterhaching.

"Why should the kids have to move all the time just because their father joins a new club?" he said.

When it comes to family life, joining a Chinese club changes everything. His children, Luca-Marie (seven), Hugo (five) and Bruno (11 months) will come along as soon as possible, before they might have to decide who will look after the family's pets, a dog and some turtles.

Several clubs tried to sign Wagner, including English sides West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and German Bundesliga clubs VfB Stuttgart and FC Schalke 04. He didn't want to leave Bayern, as he has repeatedly said - as a seven-year-old, he had joined the Bavarian's youth team.

13 months ago he returned to Bayern, after having played for MSV Duisburg, Werder Bremen, Hertha, Darmstadt 98 and Hoffenheim. Bayern paid 13 million euros for him to act as cover for star striker Robert Lewandowski.

After a satisfactory first year under coach Jupp Heynckes, with nine goals in 18 games, his situation changed for the worse under Niko Kovac, and Wagner increasingly found himself sitting in the stands while his team was in action.

Bayern might have lost a competitive striker but can avoid creating growing frustration in the squad. "He got a great offer, that is why we decided to satisfy his request to leave," sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic noted.

The Bavarians take some risk with Wagner departing. Now the job of understudying Lewandowski will fall to German internationals Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry. Coach Kovac is hoping Lewandowski doesn't get injured as crunch time in the Champions League is approaching.

Wagner traveled to Alicante in Spain to meet his new team at their pre-season preparation camp and sign a contract opening the doors to an entirely new life.

Fellow countrymen Stielike and defender Felix Bastians might help Wagner to settle in in China. In 2013, Bastians and Wagner played together at Hertha BSC. The Tianjin team can expect the support of a physically strong striker who is always fully aware in the box, desperately waiting for opportunities to score.

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