The battle for a spot in Germany’s squad for the World Cup has heated up between Bayern Munich’s Sandro Wagner and Stuttgart’s Mario Gomez. Both strikers made moves in the winter transfer window to bolster their chances of making a spot in Joachim Low’s 23-man roster that travels to Russia, Wagner from Hoffenheim to Bayern, and Gomez from Wolfsburg to Stuttgart. Either will arguably be playing second fiddle to RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, but that’s beside the point.
Gomez fired the first pot shot at Wagner two weeks ago. Speaking with Welt am Sonntag (via Bild), Gomez argued that the pressure is on Wagner to perform, since he’s at Bayern and playing as a backup to Robert Lewandowski:
I don’t think it matters very much for the national coach whether I score five or ten goals. He knows that he can count on me. If I was playing for Bayern, people would naturally expect goals. If you don’t score, you’d have to worry.
Stuttgart’s manager, Tayfun Korkut chimed in
I’m confident that Jogi knows exactly what [Gomez] can do.
Speaking to Bild, Wagner fired back subtly, suggesting that Gomez may have spoken prematurely and that Jogi Löw will take note of just how good Wagner has been for all of his clubs:
Someone or other apparently gave his media agent a World Cup advance . . .
Jogi Löw will decide. I accept every decision (he makes). But I am very, very positive that I’ll be able to come along. I only pay attention to myself, am convinced by myself. I’ve scored my goals with every club: in the relegation fight for Darmstadt, in the Europa League for Hoffenheim, and now with Bayern for the German championship. I am the best German striker.
How they stack up
Both strikers have gotten on the score-sheet multiple times since making their respective winter moves. Gomez has 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 appearances across competitions with Stuttgart, while Wagner has found the mark 3 times from a total of 9 appearances.
Although Gomez edges out Wagner on goal-scoring form since making the winter move, Wagner’s overall record this season (including his time with Hoffenheim) is better than Gomez’s, albeit Gomez struggled with an ankle injury in the fall. Across competitions in 2017-2018, Wagner has scored 9 goals and provided 4 assists in 24 appearances, while Gomez has only scored 5 goals and added 5 assists in 23 appearances.
With regards to the German National Team, Wagner has been in the squad far more often than Gomez has since the start of 2017. Wagner has made 7 appearances across competitions since the start of last year, scoring 4 goals in the process. By contrast, Gomez has appeared for Germany only twice since the start of 2017, scoring in both matches: a 4-1 win over Azerbaijan and 6-0 win over Norway in World Cup Qualifying .
Complicating matters, Gomez clearly has the edge in experience, considering that he’s made 71 appearances for Germany overall, scoring 31 goals and providing 10 assists. Wagner has only racked up 7 total appearances at the senior level.
Löw will clearly have a lot to weigh when deciding who he’d rather bring to Russia—unless, of coures, he doesn’t bring either Wagner or Gomez.
Who should Loew take to Russia?
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