Sandro Wagner is incredibly eager to be included in Joachim Löw’s Germany squad for this summer's World Cup, but there will be fierce competition for places, given the bevy of talent that Löw has to choose from. Wagner feels that his move from Hoffenheim to Bayern Munich in the winter transfer window bolsters his chances of making the trip to Russia, despite being second in the pecking order behind the prolific Robert Lewandowski.
The 30-year old has already made a total of 7 appearances for Die Mannschaft, scoring 5 goals during their World Cup qualifying campaign, 3 of which came in a 7-0 win over San Marino last summer. Wagner, though, will be competing for a spot in the 23-man roster against both Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) and Mario Gomez.
Gomez himself has recently made the move from Vfl Wolfsburg to Vfb Stuttgart, where he spent six years during the early stages of his career. After returning to Stuttgart, Gomez revealed that a massive part of his decision had to do with wanting to be involved in World Cup 2018:
For now, I only look at the next six months. It’s an incredibly important time. Both for VfB and me. I have a burning ambition to go to the World Cup.
Gomez boasts plenty of experience for Die Mannschaft, too, having been involved in the squad for five major tournaments and tallying a total of 31 goals from 71 appearances. Wagner doesn’t have anywhere near the experience on the major stages of his counterpart.
Wagner came off the bench and played for 12 minutes in Bayern’s 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen even though Lewandowski missed the game. Jupp Heynckes was perhaps exercising some caution by leaving Wagner out of the starting lineup instead of tossing him right in the firing line, but the forward remains confident that he’s at the right place to stay on Löw’s radar (Bundesliga.com):
I’m at the best club in Germany now - one of the best clubs in the world, in fact. I don’t feel that’s a bad thing as far as the national team is concerned. I’m not too worried.
Wagner also admitted that he had no problem with coming off of the bench against Leverkusen in a situation (given Lewandowski’s injury) that was perfectly setup for him to start:
I don’t mind. I tried to help the team after being brought on, putting myself about, holding the ball up and tracking back. I managed to do just that. I would’ve loved a goal, but didn’t really have an opportunity to score. I did everything that could be expected of me.
Regardless of where he stands on the depth chart, Wagner’s commitment to the cause at Bayern is admirable, and he knows he has a fantastic opportunity to make an impact:
When I play I always want to give my all and earn my place in the team. I want to go to the World Cup in Russia this summer, so it’s very important that I perform for Bayern. I just want to have a good second half of the season, just like anybody else.