Way back on September 19, 2015, Javi Martinez celebrated his comeback after over a year of injury in a lopsided 3-0 Bundesliga victory over little Darmstadt. Javi came on in the 66th minute and was soon greeted by none other than Sandro Wagner.
“He hit me on the nose with his elbow,” Javi said (TZ). Far from apologizing, Wagner told him, “Welcome to the Bundesliga.” Wagner, of course, wasn’t there to make friends. He had at last found his feet with Darmstadt after a string of brief stints around the league, a late bloomer at the age of 27. His outstanding play there won him a starting place at Hoffenheim, and the rest is history.
Wagner has made an impression not only with his goals. Opponents have also repeatedly criticized him for his “borderline” behavior on the pitch. “I always tell him, ‘You’re an asshole on the pitch,” Javi explained. Of course, off the pitch, Javi insists that Wagner is a really nice guy, funny guy. “We’re good friends.”
Javi was also asked how he’d intimidate opponents after the departure of Bayern’s guerrero Arturo Vidal. His answer? “I’m ugly enough, I don’t need to change my facial expression. I’ll take on any opponent with this face.”